What Are You Watching?
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The Fourth Annual Kickstarter Film Fest kicks off tomorrow in Brooklyn, so naturally, we're thinking a lot about movies. We decided to ask some creators who have participated in our previous film fests about what they've been enjoying lately. Happy watching!
Todd Chandler, Flood Tide: One project that I backed enthusiastically and watch often is Vanessa Renwick's North South East West DVD. I love the way Vanessa sees the world—from wolves to nuclear cooling towers. She's been making work for over 30 years and is incredibly prolific. This DVD is essentially a best of compilation and it's a real treasure to have so much of her work in one place.
Riley Hooper, World's Longest Yard Sale: I'm documentary-obsessed, so my recommendation is inevitably going to be a documentary. I've seen so many this year that I've loved (two of which are Rich Hill and Tomorrow We Disappear! SO excited to be featured alongside both films in the festival!) but there are two that really stand out for me so far: Sacro Gra and Ne Me Quitte Pas.
Both films are incredibly beautiful and intimate and surreal. They're both observational films, meaning they're told with only observational footage, no interviews or voice over, etc. It's rare to see films made this way these days, but such films are always my favorite because of the truly beautiful and poignant life moments that they capture.
Michael Galinsky, Malls Across America: Rat Pack Rat is a short film by Todd Rohal that we backed. Honestly, I didn't even read the description. Todd was the first backer of our Malls project, so when he posted we acted based on etiquette as much as aesthetics. When I finally saw the film at Sundance I was ecstatic to have been a backer. It is the darkest and funniest thing I have seen in a long time. It was brilliantly acted, and as I watched it I was acutely aware that without Kickstarter it wouldn't exist.
Dennis Doros, Portrait of Jason Film Restoration: I am in love with the silent film DVDs that Ben Model has been releasing with the help of Kickstarter. They contain delightful comedies that make me laugh out loud. His work on Accidentally Preserved and The Mishaps of Musty Suffer are two amazing examples of an individual helping to preserve and present rare films that were lost to history. While others may ask "Why aren't my favorite films available?", Ben Model has gone out and done something about it.
Brian Frye, Our Nixon: I'd like to recommend Brendan Toller's Danny Says, which I backed. It's not released yet, but I know it will be great. It's a documentary about Danny Fields, who played a pivotal role in the music and art scenes from 1966 to today, working for, or managing acts like Lou Reed, Nico, the MC5, the Stooges and the Ramones.
Amy Finkel, Furever: There are so many wonderful films that started out on Kickstarter! The Punk Singer—a fantastic film and such a nostalgic experience for me; Bikini Kill saved me when I was a kid. Good 'Ol Freda! My friend Ryan made this and it's truly one of the best docs I've ever seen. I highly recommend it, even if you're not a Beatles fan. Ryan's new film, The Case Against 8, is also amazing. Oh, and Our Nixon! Another friend's film and the first project I ever Kickstarted. I didn't know Brian back then; I love backing the projects of strangers. Ryan, Brian, and I were on the festival route together last year.
This week my shout out would be to Errol Morris, Les Blank and Werner Herzog. I'm currently teaching an intensive summer documentary course at Parsons and tomorrow I'm showing my students Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe and telling the awesome story behind it (in hopes that it'll push them through this last 1.5 weeks of intense filmmaking). Today they watched Streetwise, my all time favorite.
Adam Abada, Backstreet Atlas: I cannot recommend The Act of Killing more than enough and to everybody. It's gotten a lot of coverage and deserves it. It, more than any film I can recently remember, shows the power of the medium and its ability to directly influence the world.
Scott Ross and Karl Beyer, The Burning House: The first thing that came to mind was Point Break (1991) directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Not a new movie, but one that we re-watch regularly because it's so good. It's a simpleminded film made by a very intelligent director. It has everything you could ever want from a movie: gun fights, beautiful surfing scenes, skydiving, and the mesmerizingly handsome Keanu Reeves.
If we were to pick from the Kickstarter Watch List, we'd go with 12 O'Clock Boys (2013) directed by Lofty Nathan, the documentary about a young kid from Baltimore who dreams of joining a dirt bike pack/gang. It's one of the most memorable and enlightening documentaries we've seen in recent years.
A movie we both fell in love with in the past year and which is most thematically related to our film is Adam Curtis' BBC miniseries The Century of the Self (2002), a documentary about the recent historical roots of propaganda, advertising, and lifestyle marketing. It is addictive, depressing, and often jaw dropping to watch. It explains and contextualizes so many aspects of modern life in America. We also highly recommend Curtis' other documentaries All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011) and The Power of Nightmares (2004).
Kymia Nawabi, Walking Through That Door: The film that I recommend people to see is called Three Fragments of a Lost Tale, written and directed by John Frame. John Fayette Frame (born November 27, 1950) is an American sculptor, photographer, composer and filmmaker. He has been working as an artist in California since the early 1980s and executes practically all aspects of his work by himself.
Jimmy Goldblum, Tomorrow We Disappear: I've seen a bunch of incredible documentaries around the festival circuit that I can't wait to see distributed in NYC. Films like The Overnighters, Bugarach, and Beyond Clueless. Last week I saw Obvious Child, which I know is playing the Kickstarter Film Fest too, and it's so funny and important and honest. I loved it. And I don't know if anybody bought it yet, but the Mexican narrative, Güeros, played Tribeca with us this year, and it's like Y Tu Mamá También meets La Haine; super beautiful and funny.