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The Kitchen Presents: An Evening with Cinema16

by Amanda Schmitt on July 3rd, 2012

June 26, 2012 New York, New York

Inspired by an Oliver Sacks lecture on hallucinations and perception, Molly Surno brought four delightfully abstract films to her ongoing experimental film series, Cinema 16, at the Kitchen on this Tuesday evening, leaving an entire theater-full of guests bug-eyed and awe-jawed.  To add to the experience, she invited musician and composer Matteah Baim to imagine an original soundtrack for the screening, adding another dimension of emotionality to the atmosphere, and creating an unlikely collaboration between artists who will never meet. The works span over the course of almost an entire century, from 1924 to 2010, all running on a 16-mm projector (Bravo Kitchen!). Continue Reading More »

Best First Feature Spirit Award: Lena Dunham

by Helen Homan Wu on March 25th, 2011

Lena Dunham was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”.  She studied creative writing, likes to write and make movies, but her bigger passion seems to be twitter. Ms. Dunham’s feature film “Tiny Furniture” was awarded Best Screenplay Spirit Award this past February.  I’ve just started to follow her tweets.

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival @AMNH

by Helen Homan Wu on November 6th, 2010

(Trailer for The Last Days of Shishmaref. East coast premier on Nov. 15, 2010)

The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is the longest-running, premiere showcase for international documentaries in the United States, encompassing a broad spectrum of work, from indigenous community media to experimental nonfiction. The Festival is distinguished by its outstanding selection of titles, which tackle diverse and challenging subjects, representing a range of issues and perspectives, and by the forums for discussion with filmmakers and speakers.

Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History
November 11 – 14
Full schedule

2010 Himalayan Film Festival

by Helen Homan Wu on October 21st, 2010

"Miss Tibet" (Siebout Leseur van Leeuwen & Tenzin Thardoe, 26 min.)

The Himalayan Film Festival lands in NYC’s Quad Cinema this year with a remarkable program of 31 films, featuring original works created by natives of the surrounding Himalayas. This is a chance to peak into the poetics, politics, and existential conditions that underline the cultural currents of Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and India.

2010 Himalayan Film Festival
October 22 – 28th

Official Site:

Post-Punk Auteur: Olivier Assayas

by Helen Homan Wu on October 9th, 2010

Maggie Cheung in "Irma Vep" (1996)

Édgar Ramírez in "Carlos" (2010)

From Saturday, Oct. 9 to Friday, Oct. 29 BAMcinématek fêtes one of the preeminent living directors, Olivier Assayas, with a complete retrospective of his work to date. This 20 film series, titled Post-Punk Auteur: Olivier Assayas, celebrates the vibrant career of the former film critic turned filmmaker with his early short films, pastoral family pieces, genre-upending techno-dramas, and rarely screened documentaries. This momentous retrospective caps off a banner year here in New York for the director: his newest film, the five-hour-plus epic Carlos, (2010 screening: Oct. 23 & 24) received some of the best notices of his accomplished career when it premiered earlier this year at Cannes before also being selected for the New York Film Festival; and he curated Assayas Picks at this year’s BAMcinemaFEST. As he did for BAMcinemaFEST, Assayas will appear in person at BAM for Q&As. Continue for more on Assayas. Continue Reading More »

NYFF Day 1: Destination Finale

by Helen Homan Wu on October 5th, 2010

I started out my NYFF week kind of late. This past Saturday, I rushed up to Lincoln Center for the 48th New York Film Festival, slightly distressed by the weekend morning traffic to arrive an hour late into Mirror of Shadow and Cinders. Part of a series of Avant-Garde shorts curated by Mark McElhatten & Gavin Smith, Mirror of Shadow and Cinders is a strikingly poetic group of work. I was particularly captivated by “Destination Finale” (2008) originally an 8mm color amateur film, edited by the German filmmaker Philip Widmann. If you question the art of film editing, this 9-minute video will persuade you to think otherwise. Created entirely from found footage that was shot in 1964 and resurrected in Saigon in 2005, the German director Widmann tells a story by using his editing skills. We follow his protagonist, a solo traveler, clad in a suit and leather shoes, wandering across cities carrying nothing but his camera and smiles. The audio and visual glitches from the residue of the film is like being in an impressionist painting which triggered a wave of nostalgia. Who is this man?  He remains anonymous even until the end as he reunites with his people at the airport. The end is a bit heavy and unexpected. Continue Reading More »

C/16: The Return of Avant-Garde Cinema

by Helen Homan Wu on September 18th, 2010

image courtesy C/16

The name Cinema 16 might not be new to a past generation of underground cinema fans, but in this day and age “when film has been reduced to the tiny screens of our laptops and ipods,” the revival of C/16 is a welcoming refuge. Molly Surno, a good friend of mine, is an LA native who moved to NY and was disappointed by the “lack of experimental films shown in enchanted spaces”, so she created the new C/16. She was inspired by the original founders – of the cult film era – Amos and Marcia Vogel, and Maya Deren. Surno’s vision goes a bit further than screening experimental shorts, she enjoys collaborating with musicians and with the local community. The programs get even more interesting as it anticipates a different musical score composed by her chosen bands within a short amount of time. Each program becomes a unique experience not unlike an orchestrated concerto on a small scale. And those local food vendors offering homemade fares along the side are not to be missed. Looking forward to the next screening, which will be in November and this time it’ll be scored by Soft Circle.