Projections, taking place October 6-9, is comprised of eight features and eight shorts programs presenting an international selection of film and video work that expands upon notions of what the moving image can do and be.
Drawing on a broad range of innovative modes and techniques, including experimental narratives, avant-garde poetics, crossovers into documentary and ethnographic realms, and contemporary art practices, Projections brings together a diverse offering of short, medium, and feature-length work by some of today’s most significant and groundbreaking filmmakers and artists.
“Projections is the New York Film Festival’s home for adventurous work, and our 2017 lineup attests to the sheer number and variety of ways in which our most vital artists are exploring the possibilities of cinematic language,” said Dennis Lim, FSLC Director of Programming and one of the curators of Projections. “We’ve extended the program by a day this year, as well as expanded the range of work on offer. My sense is that this slate includes what will be remembered as some of the year’s very best and most enduring films, along with some of its boldest provocations and most startling revelations, and we’re excited to present these discoveries alongside two programs of newly restored work by a pair of singular figures: Barbara Hammer and Mike Henderson.”
This year’s lineup features 51 films, including eight features and eight programs of shorts, with eight world premieres, eight North American premieres, and 15 U.S. premieres. Among the highlights are the U.S. premiere of Caniba by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, whose feature Leviathan was presented in the Main Slate of NYFF50; Good Luck by Projections regular Ben Russell; and the North American premieres of two films by Kevin Jerome Everson, feature Tonsler Park and short IFO.
The lineup also features the NYFF debuts of several acclaimed visual artists, including Xu Bing’s Dragonfly Eyes, winner of the International Critics Prize at the recent Locarno Film Festival; Neïl Beloufa’s Occidental; and mid-length works Rubber Coated Steel by Lawrence Abu Hamdan and The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy by Duncan Campbell; the North American premiere of Zhou Tao’s The Worldly Cave, which was included in this year’s Venice Biennial; and the world premiere of Jaakko Pallasvuo’s Filter. Visual artists returning to Projections include Luke Fowler, whose Electro-Pythagoras (a Portrait of Martin Bartlett) screens in its U.S. premiere, and Rosalind Nashashibi, whose Vivian’s Garden is one of several works in this year’s lineup first presented at documenta 14 and will screen in its North American premiere.
Eighteen works will screen on 16mm, including all 13 of this year’s repertory selections, which showcase the work of experimental cinema pioneers Barbara Hammer and Mike Henderson, preserved by the Academy Film Archive.
Projections also showcases returning filmmakers Ephraim Asili (Fluid Frontiers), Sky Hopinka (Dislocation Blues), Sara Magenheimer (Art and Theft), Jodie Mack (Wasteland No. 1: Ardent, Verdant), Takashi Makino (On Generation and Corruption), Steve Reinke (Semen Is the Piss of Dreams), Fern Silva (Ride Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder), and 2012 Kazuko Trust Award winner Michael Robinson (Onward Lossless Follows). NYFF debut artists also include Pia Borg (Silica), Jorge Jácome (Flores), Peter Burr (Pattern Language), Nazli Dinçel (Shape of a Surface), Charlotte Prodger (BRIDGIT), Ayo Akingbade (Tower XYZ), Marta Mateus (Barbs, Wastelands), and a few Film Society of Lincoln Center alums—Benjamin Crotty (Division Movement to Vungtau), who was in New Directors/New Films in 2015, and Narimane Mari (Le fort des fous), whose work has screened in the Film Society’s Art of the Real festival.
This year, the NYFF is proud to continue its collaboration with MUBI. The curated streaming platform will be the dedicated sponsor of the Projections section for the third consecutive year. After the completion of the festival, MUBI will proudly present a selection of titles from this year’s program, making these essential works available to audiences across the globe. Details on the films and schedule will be announced at a later date.
Projections is curated by Dennis Lim (FSLC Director of Programming) and Aily Nash (independent curator). Shelby Shaw is Program Coordinator. Thomas Beard (FSLC Programmer at Large) and Rachael Rakes (FSLC Programmer at Large) serve as Program Advisors. The curators wish to thank Jordan Cronk, James N. Kienitz Wilkins, Mark Toscano, and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Projections tickets are $15 for General Public and $10 for Members & Students. A Projections All Access Pass will also be available for purchase. Visit filmlinc.org/NYFF for more information.
Tickets for the 55th New York Film Festival will go on sale September 10 at noon. Becoming a Film Society Member at the Film Buff Level or above provides early ticket access to festival screenings and events ahead of the general public, along with the exclusive member ticket discount and brand new member benefits and offers available throughout NYFF. Learn more at filmlinc.org/membership.
For even more access, VIP passes and packages offer the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events including Opening and Closing Nights, and Centerpiece. VIP passes also provide access to many exciting events, including the invitation-only Opening Night party, Filmmaker Brunch, and VIP Lounge. Benefits vary based on the pass or package type purchased. VIP passes and packages are on sale now. Learn more at filmlinc.org/packages.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All films screen digitally at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (144 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted.
Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, France, 2017, 90m
The latest by the makers of Leviathan (NYFF50) is a harrowing engagement with the sheer presence of a man who did the unthinkable: Issei Sagawa, who became a tabloid magnet after killing and cannibalizing a woman in Paris in 1981. Caniba moves past sensationalism to immerse viewers in an unnervingly intimate encounter with Sagawa, who has since lived off his notoriety (as a sexploitation star and manga author), and his brother and primary caretaker. The filmmakers use this modern-day instance of cannibalism, long a subject of anthropological study, to raise questions about repulsion, desire, madness, and more. Audacious and unflinching, Caniba compels us to reckon with the most extreme limits of human behavior.
Sunday, October 8, 7:15pm
Monday, October 9, 8:45pm
Xu Bing, China, 2017, 81m
Chinese visual artist Xu Bing’s ambitious debut feature follows an ill-fated romance through a frightening and faceless urban environment, using only closed-circuit surveillance footage. Constructing a fictitious narrative from real-world encounters and frequently spectacular images, Xu turns the story of a young man attempting to relocate his object of desire into a cogent analysis of postmodern identity and digitally mediated communication.
Sunday, October 8, 9:30pm
Monday, October 9, 5:15pm
Electro-Pythagoras (a Portrait of Martin Bartlett)
Luke Fowler, U.K./Canada, 2017, 45m
The life and work of highly influential, yet little known, Canadian composer and microcomputer pioneer Martin Bartlett is resurrected in this lovingly constructed biographical essay. Archival footage finds Bartlett at home, at work, and onstage, while voiceover readings of the proudly out artist’s reflections on his place in the era’s gay community convey a sense of intimate, holistic personal history.
Rosalind Nashashibi, U.K., 2017, 30m
North American Premiere
Deep in the Guatemalan Highlands, Swiss-Austrian artists Vivian Suter and Elisabeth Wild live in a garden villa. Nashashibi captures the complexity of their unorthodox microcosm, which is dominated by their curiously intimate mother-daughter dynamic as well as the keen sense of dependency seen in their relationship with the Mayan domestic workers.
Sunday, October 8, 5:00pm
Le fort des fous
Narimane Mari, France/Algeria/Greece/Germany/Qatar, 2017, 140m
In this shape-shifting hybrid feature, Algerian citizens’ memories of their country’s occupation are brought to life via resurrected military reports and re-enactments of France’s decades-long colonial project. As the film moves into a more dramatic mode, two characters from the first act join up with a small community that has sought refuge along the coast. But utopia proves fleeting, and the film, seeming to sense their fate, reinvents itself yet again as documentary.
Monday, October 9, 5:30pm
Ben Russell, France/Germany, 2017, 143m
In his first solo feature in eight years, Ben Russell takes us deep into the unforgiving copper mines of Serbia. When we emerge, we’re thousands of miles away, amongst an illegal band of gold miners in the Suriname jungle. The physical demands of labor, as well as the transformative power of music, connect these communities, each equally fortified by the realities of capital and a spirit of masculine camaraderie.
Saturday, October 7, 6:15pm
Sunday, October 8, 7:30pm
Neïl Beloufa, France, 2017, 74m
In a boho Parisian hotel, two sexually and politically ambiguous Italians romp through a succession of blatantly artificial, anachronistically decorated set pieces, stoking the prejudices of staff members and fellow guests. Outside, riots rage and protesters march, threatening to spill into the increasingly feverish atmosphere gathering indoors. French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa’s second feature—reminiscent of films by Bertrand Bonello and the stage-derived works of Alain Resnais—confirms the arrival of a uniquely provocative, socially attuned filmmaker.
Friday, October 6, 8:45pm
Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2017, 80m
North American Premiere
Election Day, 2016. Kevin Jerome Everson and his 16mm camera quietly observe a community of mostly African-American voters and volunteers at a local polling precinct in Charlottesville, Virginia. Emerson’s film captures everyday faces and the general optimistic atmosphere with a casual formal elegance.
Saturday, October 7, 4:00pm
The Worldly Cave
Zhou Tao, China, 2017, 48m
North American Premiere
Anonymous figures are diminished against unforgiving environs, both natural and manmade, in Zhou’s expansive cross-continental diary, featuring monumental views of the Incheon Sea, the Balearic island of Menorca, and the Sonoran Desert that serve to visualize the infinitesimal stature of the human race.
Showing on loop at EBM Amphitheater:
Friday, October 6 – Monday, October 9, 12:00pm–6pm & 9:00pm–11:00pm
Barbara Hammer Program
Monday, October 9, 3:00pm
A pioneer of experimental cinema, Barbara Hammer has spent much of her five-decade career deconstructing gender and sexuality through material examinations of the celluloid image and representations of the female body onscreen. This program of 16mm films combines her surreal, sexualized 1970s fantasias with the forays into poetic nonfiction and the trailblazing experiments with optically printed visuals she helped popularize throughout the 1980s. Program includes Psychosynthesis, Women I Love, and Audience, preserved by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Academy Film Archive through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation; and Still Point and No No Nooky T.V., preserved by the Academy Film Archive.
Mike Henderson Program
Sunday, October 8, 2:30pm
A singular cinematic figure, San Francisco’s Mike Henderson became one of the first independent African-American artists to make inroads into experimental filmmaking in the 1960s. Henderson’s work throughout the 1970s and 1980s, from which this program of 16mm films is culled, thrums with a sociopolitical, humorous sensibility that lends his small-scale, often musically kissed portraits (which he later dubbed “blues cinema”) a personal, artisanal quality. Program includes MONEY, Dufus (aka Art), The Shape of Things, The Last Supper, When & Where, Down Hear, Mother’s Day, and Pitchfork and the Devil. All films preserved by the Academy Film Archive.
Program 1: SPECULATIVE SPACES
Friday, October 6, 4:00pm
Saturday, October 7, 5:15pm
Division Movement to Vungtau
Benjamin Crotty and Bertrand Dezoteux, France, 2016, 4m
In Crotty and Dezoteux’s cheeky and damning political patchwork, a quartet of dancing, computer-animated fruits infiltrate amateur footage shot by soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Wherever You Go, There We Are
Jesse McLean, USA, 2017, 12m
North American Premiere
Assisted by a buoyant electro-acoustic soundtrack, McLean maps an evocative cross-country travelogue through elegantly illustrated postcards and the strangely intoxicating language of junk emails.
Kevin Jerome Everson, USA, 2017, 10m
North American Premiere
In Everson’s hometown of Mansfield, Ohio, multiple UFO sightings yield both passionate firsthand accounts and detailed reflections; meanwhile, suburban youths raise their arms toward the heavens in becalmed surrender.
Pia Borg, Australia/U.K., 2017, 23m
North American Premiere
An unseen location scout explores an opal mining town in South Australia in Pia Borg’s sci-fi-laced essay film, which finds in this semi-deserted region both the traces of indigenous culture and remnants of cinema history.
Jorge Jácome, Portugal, 2017, 26m
Island life, love, and labor are captured in vivid detail in this speculative fiction, in which two soldiers speak in voiceover about the over-proliferation of hydrangea flowers on their isolated Portuguese island in the Azores.
Program 2: PRESENT TENSE
Friday, October 6, 6:30pm
Saturday, October 7, 7:30pm
Peter Burr, USA, 2017, 10m
Architect Christopher Alexander’s design theories are applied towards a generative video game labyrinth, resulting in this rhythmic animation made of rippling, skipping, and strobing arrays of light infused with programmatic digital pixelation.
G. Anthony Svatek, USA/Tuvalu/New Zealand/France, 2017, 22m
The much sought-after, two-letter web domain suffix of the title is examined as both a form of capital and an emblem of a country on the brink of a climate-induced catastrophe in this simultaneously humorous and illuminating essay film centered on the environmentally contentious Pacific Islands of Tuvalu.
Belit Sağ, Netherlands, 2016, 5m
In the span of a short walk, images and information flow ceaselessly into view as our increasingly digitized lives absorb disparate movie and media moments, from the warmly humorous to the coldly clinical.
Sky Hopinka, USA, 2017, 17m
The Standing Rock protests are the starting point for Ho-Chunk artist Sky Hopinka’s inquiry into identity, community, and mass media. Against twilit images of the Dakota landscape, the film frames present-day traumas through distinct first-person perspectives and reflects on the threatened environment and the complex social realities of the resistance camps.
Rubber Coated Steel
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 2016, 21m
North American Premiere
Abu Hamdan, an artist and Forensic Architecture researcher, made an audio analysis to ascertain whether Israeli soldiers used rubber or live bullets in the murder of two Palestinian teens. Through the frame of a speculative court proceeding, the video acts as a tribunal for the case, which includes audio testimony and onscreen forensic animations.
Program 3: THE SHAPES OF THINGS
Saturday, October 7, 12:00pm
Sunday, October 8, 3:15pm
Jonathan Schwartz, USA, 2017, 16mm, 18m
Schwartz’s poetic 16mm work meditates on the sights and sounds of slowly crumbling glaciers, charting an interior dance between desperation and hope. The carefully deployed superimpositions, strident soundtrack, and contrasting tones of intensity and tranquility suggest the unpredictable rhythms of metaphysical transformation.
Saint Bathans Repetitions
Alexandre Larose, Canada, 2016, 16mm, 20m
A series of cinematic portraits shot in domestic spaces in a former gold mining town in New Zealand expand into a tapestry of glistening natural light and vaporous movement, created via a painstaking process of in-camera layering effects.
Shape of a Surface
Nazli Dinçel, Turkey, 2017, 16mm, 9m
Shooting on 16mm amidst the Aphrodisias ruins in western Turkey, Dinçel refracts multiple epochs of religious history with mirrors and occluded space, finding figural as well as metaphorical power in the human body’s place within the landscape.
Wasteland No. 1: Ardent, Verdant
Jodie Mack, USA, 2017, 16mm, 5m
Jodie Mack’s bracing 16mm montage film juxtaposes gleaming close-ups of electrical circuit boards with hyper-saturated images of a flower-littered landscape. In its rapid-fire presentation, the film offers a swift metaphorical representation of technology’s inexorable march.
On Generation and Corruption
Takashi Makino, Japan, 2017, 26m
In this Aristotle-inspired audiovisual panorama, a fathomless void slowly accumulates rippling digital textures, and waves of watercolor pastels wash atop barely perceptible images of natural phenomena. When the darkness returns, only the droning soundscape is left to point the way forward.
Program 4: FIRST PERSON
Saturday, October 7, 2:00pm
Sunday, October 8, 5:00pm
Art and Theft
Sara Magenheimer, USA, 2017, 7m
Magenheimer’s video explores the bounds of narrative and the illusion of received wisdom in the seven minutes and twenty-two seconds it takes to rob a house. Here, images of medieval art, popular cinema, and “live” news reportage speak candidly to the constructedness of all storytelling traditions.
Jaakko Pallasvuo, Finland/USA/Germany, 2017, 25m
Mixing crude animation, 3D modeling, and faux filmic textures in a self-reflexive essay on digitally abetted nostalgia, this playful work of fair use pastiche refracts all manner of postmodern touchstones (David Foster Wallace, Talking Heads, Reality Bites) into an aesthetic interrogation of its own methodology, resulting in, to paraphrase one onscreen subject, a critique of a critique of a critique.
Semen Is the Piss of Dreams
Steve Reinke, USA/Canada, 2016, 7m
In Reinke’s latest provocation, the words of author Hervé Guibert are made flesh through a montage of “human events” that work to collapse the boundaries between the private and public, the perverse and the prosaic.
Wojciech Bąkowski, Poland, 2017, 6m
Bąkowski’s strangely personal, nostalgia-laced video combines the Polish animator’s love of everyday domestic objects and geometric aesthetics with a flickering synth score out of an eighties urban crime film.
Charlotte Prodger, U.K., 2016, 32m
Prodger examines issues of gender, sexuality, and creativity in this first-person essay film, shot in and around the Scottish Highlands and named for the Neolithic goddess of springtime.
Program 5: URBAN RHAPSODIES
Sunday, October 8, 12:00pm
Monday, October 9, 3:30pm
Ayo Akingbade, U.K., 2016, 3m
A visual guide to the under-acknowledged multiethnicity of the London borough Hackney, Tower XYZ skips to the beat of the city’s vibrant youth culture and communal spirit, offering up a rebel cry for a new generation: “Let’s get rid of the ghetto!”
Ride Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder
Fern Silva, USA, 2017, 16mm, 9m
North American Premiere
Through softly textured 16mm photography and regional iconography, Silva offers a modernist reflection on two of upstate New York’s most storied 19th century touchstones—the landscape painters of the Hudson River School and the legend of Rip Van Winkle—nodding to a few musical heroes along the way.
Ephraim Asili, USA, 2017, 23m
Visually tracing the 19th-century Windsor-Detroit slave pass, with on-site readings of notable texts by many of Motor City’s most storied African-American poets, Asili deftly captures the city not simply as a repository of memory but as a landscape of living history.
Onward Lossless Follows
Michael Robinson, USA, 2017, 17m
Robinson’s latest work of cinematic excavation uncovers the darkness inherent even in life’s most banal images and encounters. It’s an unsettling study in duality—between the earthbound and the cosmic, the found and forgotten, the rural and domestic, the verbal and written.
Luis López Carrasco, Spain, 2017, 23m
In this short nonfiction portrait, Tesa Arranz, one-time leader of pioneering Spanish new wave band Zombies, reminisces about her sexual and political conquests, while dozens of her recent paintings are examined by Carrasco’s inquisitive camera.
Program 6: THE FORGOTTEN
Monday, October 9, 1:00pm
Monday, October 9, 8:00pm
Marta Mateus, Portugal, 2017, 25m
North American Premiere
In this accomplished debut, peasants of the Alentejo region of Portugal stand in stylized tableaux and speak to local youths of the Carnation Revolution, the postwar agrarian reform movement, and the ghosts of a postcolonial struggle that haunt the landscape to this day.
Dane Komljen, Germany/Denmark, 2017, 17m
In a serene meditation on image-making and the slippery nature of storytelling, Komljen ominously mingles anonymous home video footage with images of contemporary Ukraine’s desolate landscapes.
Missing In-Between the Physical Proper
Olivia Ciummo, USA, 2017, 6m
A prismatic collection of re-photographed images––of deserts and oceans, plants and animals––are disrupted and transformed by an array of color filters, soft synth accompaniment, and familiarly boorish messages lifted from the online world.
The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy
Duncan Campbell, U.K./Ireland, 2016, 31m
Campbell’s fictional narrative, concerning a pair of American anthropologists en route to the Irish village of Dún Chaoin, expands into a reflective investigation of filmmaking ethics and a portrait of a small community forced to confront the changing tides of traditions.
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.
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Gregg Morris can be reached at email@example.com