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The Sixth Annual BAMcinemaFest Lineup is Chock-Full of American Indies

The Sixth Annual BAMcinemaFest Lineup is Chock-Full of American Indies

The slate for the sixth annual BAMcinemaFest is set. Running June 18th-29th in Brooklyn, BAMcinematek’s festival will kick off with Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” and close with a special 25th anniversary screening of Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.” 

The Centerpiece feature will be Boon Joon Ho’s first English-language film “Snowpiercer,” and the Spotlight film will be David Wain’s mockery of rom coms “They Came Together.” In honor of these films’ New York premieres, Boon Joon Ho, David Wain, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler will be present at the BAM Harvey Theater. 

Check out the full lineup below: 

10,000KM (Carlos
Marques-Marcet) NY Premiere Narrative

In this groundbreaking and moving look at 21st-century
relationships, long-term couple Alexandra and Sergi live together in Barcelona,
where they’re planning to start a family. But when she accepts a yearlong
residency in LA, the pair decides to stay together despite the long distance.
Using video chat to stay in touch—and attempt some awkward cybersex—they soon
discover the limits of their digital connection, confronting a distance even
the Internet can’t diminish. Winner of the Special Jury Award at SXSW for Best
Acting, and opening with a virtuoso 20-minute long take that registers the
painful push and pull between romantic commitment and individual desires, 10,000KM
is a candid exploration of love in the age of the pixel.

Approaching
the Elephant
(Amanda Rose Wilder) NY Premiere Documentary

Without imposing traditional authority or structure, New Jersey’s
Teddy McArdle Free School allows children to set their own rules and choose
whether or not to attend classes. The teachers struggle to create a learning
environment that instills the values of democracy and critical thinking, but an
ongoing clash between two students tests the limits of the system. Evoking both
the immersive style of Frederick Wiseman and such fictional dystopias as Lord
of the Flies
, Wilder crafts
an inspired portrait of unfettered childhood within a radical model
of education.

Appropriate
Behavior
(Desiree Akhavan) NY Premiere Narrative

Writer-director-star Akhavan
helms this deadpan comedy about a bisexual Iranian-American woman adrift after
a break-up. Finding new digs in Bushwick and a daycare job at a kindergarten
film school, 20-something Shirin oscillates from conservative family gatherings
(where she remains closeted) to hip Brooklyn parties and cold sexual encounters—punctuated
with flashbacks to simpler times with her ex. Drawing comparisons to Annie Hall and Girls, this debut feature introduces a sharp new voice in independent
cinema.

Concerning
Violence
(Goran
Hugo Olsson) NY Premiere Documentary

Set to the voice of Lauryn Hill reading Frantz
Fanon’s anti-colonialist call to arms, The Wretched of the Earth, this
mesmerizing assemblage of rarely seen archival footage brings to light nine of the
most pivotal episodes in the history of African revolution. Documenting decades
of uprisings, from the Angolan War of Independence to the Mozambique Liberation
Front and beyond, director Goran Hugo Olsson’s (The Black Power Mixtape
1967-1975
) propulsive and endlessly provocative docu-essay interrogates the
role of violent revolt in the dismantling of colonial power and offers an
impassioned tribute to the sacrifices made in the pursuit of liberation. A Kino Lorber release.

Ellie
Lumme
(Ignatiy
Vishnevetsky) NY Premiere Narrative

Film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
makes the leap to filmmaking with his debut narrative work, a self-described “ghost story without a ghost.” When 22-year-old Ellie meets a slightly older,
seemingly infatuated stranger, he soon becomes a constant — and
unwelcome — presence in her life. As their relationship grows increasingly
disturbed, this meticulously shot, subtly supernatural tale blossoms into a
haunting psychological riddle.

Evolution
of a Criminal
(Darius Clark Monroe) NY Premiere Documentary

In this unique, autobiographical
documentary, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe revisits his journey from honors
student to convicted felon at the age of 16. Feeling the anxiety of his
family’s financial troubles, Monroe planned a bank heist that netted $140,000
in cash but landed him in jail for three years. Contemplating the ramifications
of his crime, Monroe gathers interviews with relatives, accomplices, and
victims, who react to his efforts to make amends in unpredictable ways. His
unflinching and cathartic confrontation with his past examines how the effects
of one bad decision reverberate throughout a community.

For the
Plasma
(Bingham Bryant & Kyle Molzan) World Premiere Narrative

In a remote house in Maine, two
old friends analyze CCTV footage of the surrounding forest to predict shifts in
global financial markets. From this cryptic premise grows a lo-fi mind-bender
of intimate scale and startling relevance that flirts with sci-fi and horror
conventions even as it subverts them. To the strains of an electronic score, For the Plasma juxtaposes pastoral
imagery with surveillance technology, every shade and shadow captured in
gorgeous 16mm.

The Foxy
Merkins
(Madeleine Olnek) NY Premiere Narrative

Fresh off the bus in New York
City, Margaret embarks on a career as a lesbian prostitute, servicing
upper-class Manhattanites under the tutelage of Jo, a straight and streetwise
grifter with a knack for picking up women. Olnek’s raucous buddy comedy and
Independent Spirit Award nominee (co-written with the two stars, Lisa Haas and
Jackie Monahan) is an all-female riff on My
Own Private Idaho
by way of Midnight
Cowboy
, filled with eccentric characters and clever cameos, including Girls’ Alex Karpovsky as a shady merkin
salesman.

Happy
Christmas
(Joe
Swanberg) NY Premiere Narrative

Post-break-up and without a plan,
Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her brother (Swanberg) and his wife (Melanie
Lynskey) for the holidays, but her arrival triggers a whirlwind of drunken
hijinks and irresponsible behavior that upsets the family’s balance. The ever-prolific
Swanberg follows his indie hit Drinking
Buddies
with this charmingly relaxed comedy shot in 16mm, featuring Lena
Dunham as Jenny’s outspoken high school friend and a scene-stealing performance
by the director’s two-year-old son. A
Magnolia Pictures release. Opens July 25.

Happy
Valley
(Amir Bar-Lev) NY Premiere Documentary

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, many
Penn State fans reacted with outrage—not over Sandusky’s actions, but to the
dismissal of Joe Paterno, the popular head coach who shielded him from
prosecution. Interviewing key parties, including Paterno’s family and one of
Sandusky’s victims, director Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) wades
fearlessly into the controversy, probing the “football first” culture to better
understand whether Paterno, the university, and the community turned a blind
eye to the unspeakable.

The Heart
Machine
(Zachary
Wigon) NY Premiere Narrative

Cody (John Gallagher Jr.) carries
on a virtual relationship with Virginia (BAMcinemaFest regular Kate Lyn Sheil),
who’s in Berlin studying abroad for six months—or so she says. As Cody becomes
convinced that Virginia may, in fact, be in New York, he develops an
increasingly unhealthy fixation with tracking her down. Part love story, part
moody paranoid thriller in the vein of The
Conversation
, The Heart Machine
is a tense, trenchant tale of obsession and alienation for the digital age.

I Origins (Mike Cahill) NY
Festival Premiere
Narrative

Director Cahill’s luminous,
Brooklyn-set follow-up to his acclaimed Another
Earth
(BAMcinemaFest 2011) further plumbs the romantic and metaphysical
dimensions of science. A molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) studying the
evolution of the eyes finds his romance with an enigmatic young woman
inextricably linked to a potentially earth-shaking scientific breakthrough. Intelligent
and provocative, I Origins is a lush
sophomore effort from one of independent filmmaking’s most intriguing voices. A Fox Searchlight release. Opens July 18.

Kumiko,
the Treasure Hunter
(David Zellner) NY Premiere Narrative

In this absurdist adventure tale based on an urban legend, a Tokyo
office assistant (Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi) becomes irrationally fixated on
a scene in the Coen Brothers’ Fargo in which a briefcase full of money
is hidden beneath a blanket of snow. With stolen atlas in hand, she ditches her
overbearing mother and dead-end job, taking off for the Midwest plains in
search of the buried treasure. Indie veterans David and Nathan Zellner journey
to the edges of film-fueled obsession in this beguilingly off-kilter character
study infused with deadpan humor and rapturous widescreen imagery.

L for
Leisure
(Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn) US Premiere Narrative

It’s Baywatch meets Rohmer in this gauzy, sun-kissed paean
to vacation. Shot on glorious 16mm, L for Leisure follows a group of
quasi-intellectual grad students circa 1993 as they jet off to various
international destinations (Baja, France, Iceland, and beyond) in search of adventure.
This deliciously retro first feature from directing duo Kalman and Horn boasts
impromptu Greco-Roman wrestling, a boogie-boarding dog, and extended
discussions about everything from alternative universes to Michael Jordan—all
set to a blissed-out synth-pop soundtrack.

Life
After Death
(Joe
Callander) NY Premiere Documentary

Having grown up in the shadow of
war and genocide, charismatic but directionless Rwandan orphan Kwasa finds the
guidance—and financial aid—he seemingly needs from a charity-minded Christian
couple from the US. This multi-layered documentary begins with a wry
examination of evangelical zeal, but slowly reveals that Kwasa’s benefactors
are turning a blind eye to his puckish scheming and unrepentant carousing. Laced with comic touches, Life
After Death
is a clear-eyed portrait of both Rwandan youth struggling to
rise above their country’s troubled history and the well-intentioned outsiders
eager to help.

Low Down (Jeff
Preiss) NY Premiere Narrative

Based on Amy Albany’s (Elle Fanning) memoir of her turbulent adolescence
 with her father, legendary jazz
pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes), this richly evocative drama charts the
pianist’s crippling struggles with heroin addiction. Graced with tour de force
performances by a star-studded cast including Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, and Lena
Headey (Game of Thrones) and a marvelous, moody soundtrack
featuring Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, and Albany himself, this moving
elegy to a bygone era by the multi-talented Preiss (cinematographer for the revered
Chet Baker documentary Let’s Get Lost)
poetically captures the seedy romance of the 1970s LA jazz scene.

Memphis (Tim
Sutton) NY Premiere Narrative

In a raw, seemingly autobiographical star turn, underground blues
singer-poet Willis Earl Beal plays a musician who claims to have mystical
powers but can’t seem to finish his next album. Trying the patience of his
girlfriend and his producer, he drifts from Baptist church to bar to recording
studio in a struggle to regain his creative spark. BAMcinemaFest 2012 alum Tim
Sutton (Pavilion) treads the line between documentary and fiction in
this sumptuously photographed, daringly abstract portrait of an iconic city,
which features a haunting original soundtrack and supporting performances from
legendary Stax musicians Larry Dodson and John Gary Williams. A Kino Lorber release.

The Mend (John
Magary) NY Premiere Narrative

Mat, a reckless drifter pushing
40, shows up unexpectedly at his gainfully employed brother Alan’s Harlem
apartment—and never leaves, turning his seemingly stable sibling’s life upside
down. In this deliriously unhinged, unpredictable debut feature, Magary steers
this dark comic tale of brotherly love and hate into increasingly freewheeling,
nihilistic territory, the sense of disorientation heightened by a modern
classical score.

The
Notorious Mr. Bout
(Tony Gerber & Maxim Pozdorovkin) NY Premiere Documentary

Known as the “Merchant
of Death,” Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout achieved international notoriety
following his 2008 arrest for supplying weapons to terrorists. This riveting,
often black-comic documentary shows two Viktor Bouts: the amiable, upbeat
family man who viewed himself as an entrepreneur and the ruthless criminal
mastermind who abetted murderers. Bolstered by Bout’s own firsthand accounts
and remarkable home video footage of his globe-trotting exploits, The
Notorious Mr. Bout
masterfully reveals both the man and the myth.

Other
Months
(Nick Singer) NY
Premiere
Narrative

After returning home from college, Nash
dabbles in plumbing and maintains vague aspirations of becoming a writer,
reveling in the cheap thrills of sex, alcohol, and the dance floor to wade
through his post-grad listlessness. Divided into three chapters (February,
July, and November) and partly based on Singer’s acclaimed short, Other
Months
traces the descent of its enigmatic protagonist in a rush of moody,
surreal imagery, exhilaratingly shot by talented young DP
Justin Zweifach.

Something,
Anything
(Paul
Harrill) NY Premiere Narrative

In the wake of a life-altering
tragedy, Southern newlywed Peggy confronts a profound spiritual crisis and sets
out on a quest to discover a higher purpose. Without knowing what she seeks,
Peggy jeopardizes her marriage, career, and friendships to find fulfillment.
Harrill’s impressive debut feature is a meditative and quietly transfixing
study of a woman attempting to put her life back together.

Thou Wast
Mild and Lovely
(Josephine
Decker) NY Premiere Narrative

Psychosexual tensions boil over
in this hair-raising erotic drama, set on an idyllic farm in the Kentucky
countryside. When hired hand Akin (DIY staple Joe Swanberg) arrives to help out
for the summer, he becomes increasingly entangled with the mysterious and
emotionally manipulative relationship between farmer (Robert Longstreet) and
daughter. Using time-lapse photography and shifting points of view, Decker
imbues the bucolic scenery with a mounting sense of dread that evokes John
Steinbeck and David Lynch.
 

Wild
Canaries
(Lawrence Michael Levine) NY Premiere Narrative

Brooklyn DIY meets classic
screwball mystery in this witty whodunit. Husband and wife team Levine (Gabi on the Roof in July) and Takal (Green, BAMcinemaFest 2011) star as a
perpetually bickering couple who suspect something’s amiss when their elderly
neighbor suddenly drops dead. Channeling The
Thin Man’
s Nick and Nora, Levine and Takal recruit their roommate (Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat) to
join the case, and the investigation that ensues takes them on a whirlwind tour
of Kings County that yields both breezy comic delights and some sinister
discoveries.

Special events, shorts, the complete
festival schedule, and press screenings to be announced.

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Comments

DRAVES

I see it too

To " anyone else" yes I see it too – it's terribly sad – same old same old- there Is only 1 new movie in the bunch

If you want originality check out Austin ff or seattle international – Hawaii's pretty good too-
Bam fest is known to be a Copy cat fest

Anyone else?

Does anyone else notice that this list is the same filmmakers that you see on every single indie film festival circuit for the past 7 or 8 years? Where's the originality?

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