By Brian Brooks | Indiewire April 20, 2009 at 3:21AM
Just as New York's largest film festival, Tribeca, is set to launch this week, another event is staking claim to the city's film scene. The sixteen day BAMcinemaFEST, spotlighting "independent films and repertory favorites," will open June 17 at Brooklyn's BAM Rose Cinemas with highlights including fourteen New York premieres, an all-day shorts Sunday, and two outdoor screenings. The festival, announced last month, replaces the former Sundance at BAM series that typically took place in June, though many of this year's BAMcinemaFEST's roster hail from the popular January festival.
Cruz Angeles' "Don't Let Me Drown" will kick off BAMcinemaFEST's debut. The film is a post 9/11 drama described as a "simple story, layered characters, and standout performances." Other fest highlights include its Centerpiece screening of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927) with live accompaniment by 3epkano & an all-night movie marathon, June 27, in addition to an evening with Arnaud Desplechin as part of BAMcinematek's 10th anniversary. Organizers have unveiled the complete lineup for the inaugural event.
“As a programmer, it is a pure joy to have the freedom and the platform to present such a diverse range of films and events under one banner,” said Florence Almozini, BAMcinématek’s Program Director, in a statement, adding, "It is wonderful to be able to highlight some past successes and bring back classic audience favorites."
New York dramatic and documentary feature premieres (descriptions provided by the festival):
"Beeswax," Andrew Bujalski's (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation) intimate story of twin sisters in Austin
"Big Fan," the culture of celebrity is challenged in Robert D. Siegel's (writer of "The Wrestler") debut film about a hardcore New York Giants fan.
"Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same," Jody Lee Lipes' provocative doc follows the N.Y. artist as he prepares a video installation for his first solo show in a Manhattan gallery.
"Bronson," Nicholas Winding Refn's (Pusher Trilogy) stylized portrait of Britain's most notorious prisoner brilliantly incarnated by Tom Hardy.
"Children of Invention," Tze Chun's compelling drama about a young Chinese American family and their elusive search for the American Dream
"Don't Let Me Drown," Cruz Angeles' tale of young love between Latino Brooklyn teens in a post-9-11 world. (Opening night)
"Everything Strange and New," Frazer Bradshaw's intimate portrait of personal crisis within the framework of the American family.
"Humpday," indie film take on the bromantic-comedy by Lynn Shelton.
"Prom Night in Mississippi," documentary about a high school's first integrated prom in 2008
by Paul Saltzman.
"Sorry, Thanks," Dia Sokol's debut film about young love and loss in San Francisco.
"The Square," Australian stunt-man and director Nash Edgerton's tense take-the-money-and-run thriller noir.
"William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe," Sarah and Emily Kunstler's documentary about their father, the prominent civil rights lawyer.
"What's On Your Plate?," Catherine Gund's compelling food-justice documentary seen through the eyes of two pre-teen girls.
"You Won't Miss Me," Ry Russo-Young's second feature, co-written by lead actress Stella Schnabel, follows the days and struggles of an intense young actress,
Other new film highlights:
"The Exploding Girl," Bradley Rust Gray's quietly resonant indie character study.
"Reporter," Eric Daniel Metzgar tracks New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof in the Democratic Republic of Congo as he investigates the humanitarian crises.
"In the Loop," Armando Iannucci's wry British comedy with James Gandolfini.
"The Glass House," Hamid Rahmanian's searing documentary about teenage girls in Iran.