Projections: Los Angeles
Artists' Cinema from the New York Film Festival

Date: December 7, 2019

Time: 5:00pm & 7:30pm

Location: Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

Address: 6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Los Angeles premieres!

The New York Film Festival’s annual Projections section presents a diverse selection of film and video works from some of the most adventurous moving-image artists in contemporary cinema. For this special event, Acropolis Cinema and the American Cinematheque have partnered with Film at Lincoln Center to present a two-part program of highlights from the 2019 Projections shorts lineup, including new works by Beatrice Gibson, Tomonari Nishikawa, Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold, Ben Russell, and Zachary Epcar. With its aim to “expand upon our notions of what the moving image can do and be,” Projections is at the forefront of bringing exciting and innovative filmmaking to US audiences. Acropolis and the Cinematheque are proud to offer Projections a Los Angeles home, and to provide local audiences with a unique taste of America’s most storied film festival.

Projections LA is co-presented by Acropolis, MUBI, and the American Cinematheque, with additional support and funding provided by the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities.

Program 1: Signs of Life (5:00pm)

The Prince of Homburg
Patrick Staff, USA/UK, 2019, 23m
Los Angeles Premiere

Patrick Staff’s vibrant, color-coded short, cleverly uses text from Heinrich von Kleist’s 19th-century play of the same name to explore themes of persecution and punishment, and to meditate upon contemporary issues of gender, queer resistance, and the carceral state.

Tyrant Star
Diane Severin Nguyen, USA/Vietnam, 2019, 16m
Los Angeles Premiere

The star-crossed melancholy of two separated lovers is memorialized in a cathartic rendition of a beloved pop tune, intertwining the sensual and the toxic within an urban periphery of Vietnam. Tyrant Star is a musical tale of postwar emancipation and trauma.

Billy
Zachary Epcar, USA, 2019, 8m
Los Angeles Premiere

Zachary Epcar’s oblique psychodrama follows Billy and Allison through an evening of ominous disturbances. As flames dance, flashlights flicker, and domestic objects scatter in all directions, the couple’s home becomes a theater of contemporary anxiety.

Two Sisters Who Are Not Sisters / Deux soeurs qui n’est sont pas soeurs
Beatrice Gibson, UK, 2018, 23m
Los Angeles Premiere

In Beatrice Gibson’s dream-logic thriller, based on a 1929 play by Gertrude Stein, two amateur sleuths—played by filmmakers Ana Vaz and Basma Alsharif—investigate a crime that may not have happened. Pushing narrative beyond its limits to the point of abstraction, Gibson offers a bewitching reflection on identity, motherhood, and storytelling itself.

 

Program 2: On the Move (7:30pm)

Black Bus Stop
Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold, USA, 2019, 9m

Kevin Jerome Everson and Claudrena N. Harold resurrect an informal meeting ground for black students at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville in the 1980s and ’90s in this ecstatic tribute. In a collaboration with members of the student body, the filmmakers stage a nocturnal celebration of this sacred and historic space through an exuberant display of choreographed song and dance.

Amusement Ride
Tomonari Nishikawa, Japan, 2019, 16mm, 6m
Los Angeles Premiere

Tomonari Nishikawa’s latest visual sleight of hand, shot on 16mm with a telephoto lens, observes the inner workings of a Ferris wheel, locating intricate structural patterns and crosscurrents of movement from the inside of a swinging passenger car.

(tourism studies)
Joshua Gen Solondz, USA, 2019, 35mm, 7m
Los Angeles Premiere

A selection of still and moving images captured in over a half-dozen locations around the globe have been transformed into a bracing, rapidly unfolding cinematic travelogue in Joshua Gen Solondz’s lyrical film, which finds unexpected parallels and echoes among its far-flung locales.

Signal 8
Simon Liu, Hong Kong/UK/USA, 2019, 14m
Los Angeles Premiere

Simon Liu’s eerie, entrancing portrait of contemporary Hong Kong tracks a series of strange disruptions to the city’s urban infrastructure. Deceptively tranquil 16mm images of everyday life are accompanied by muffled music cues, ominous radio transmissions, and intimations of an impending hazardous event that may never arrive.

Pelourinho: They Don’t Really Care About Us
Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana, 2019, 9m

In 1927, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote to the U.S. Embassy of Brazil concerning the country’s discriminatory attitude toward black immigrants. Akosua Adoma Owusu conveys this correspondence through montage, juxtaposing voiceover readings of the letters, sumptuous Super-8 footage shot on the streets of Pelourinho, and interpolated images from Spike Lee’s controversial music video for Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Really Care About Us,” resulting in a film that swiftly traces nearly a century of social unrest.

COLOR-BLIND
Ben Russell, France, 2019, 30m

Ben Russell’s visually eclectic Super 16mm work of psychedelic ethnography surveys the history of colonialism in French Polynesia through present-day forms of ritualized dance, body art, and woodworking. Shot between Brittany and the Marquesas Islands, COLOR-BLIND is guided by the spirit of post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, whose words and art appear throughout.

 

Few films this year, short or long, display the sheer exuberance of the bracing, exhilarating Black Bus Stop

Tony Pipolo, Artforum

Captured on both an iPhone and in 16mm, Patrick Staff's wondrous short film The Prince of Homberg creates a vertiginous journey through time, space and psyche.

Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic

Joshua Gen Solondz's (tourism studies) ultimately asks us to reflect on the epistemology for a unifying film form, one that assigns all images an equal value, making of them a kind of crypto-currency. 

Michael Sicinski, MUBI Notebook

Beatrice Gibson’s new work conveys the fragile, complex and emotional condition of our moment. Her films evoke a sense of confusion and anxiety in the face of world events, but they also celebrate the transformative capacity of family and the tenderness of collective living. 

Ellen Mara De Wachter, frieze

Billy effects an intriguing rebalance of the suburban elements Zachary Epcar has torqued into strange forms over the last five years. In moving from an oblique to a perpendicular relationship to his material, he’s produced a comic portrait of the bland paranoia and emptiness of life inside the late-American McMansion worthy, in the cruel accuracy of its caricature, of John Currin. 

Phil Coldiron, Filmmaker Magazine

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