New Directors/ New Films
March 25 through April 5, 2009
Presented by Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center.
New Directors/New Films is a non-competitive festival featuring the work of emerging filmmakers. There are no separate categories and no prizes awarded. Films (features and shorts) are chosen according to quality from all categories ~ dramatic, documentary, animated, experimental, etc.
New Directors/New Films is one of the leading international showcases for the work of emerging filmmakers. This longstanding and successful collaboration between two major New York cultural institutions—the Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center — has premiered hundreds of films, many of which have gone on to enjoy both critical and popular success. Many directors showcased in the past have become major figures in world cinema, including Chantal Akerman, Pedro Almodóvar, Héctor Babenco, Terence Davies, Guillermo del Toro, Atom Egoyan, Nicole Holofcener, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Sally Potter, John Sayles, Steven Spielberg, Tom Tykwer and Wim Wenders.
Frozen River, at The Museum of Modern Art, Wednesday, March 26, at 7:00 p.m. Starring Melissa Leo and Misty Upham in the story of two women who become unwilling partners in a perilous crime, the film won the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. As head of the jury Quentin Tarantino declared, “It put my heart in a vise and proceeded to twist that vise until the last frame.” The Walter Reade Theater will host an encore screening of the film, Thursday, March 27, at 6:15 p.m.
Frozen River is one of several prizewinners New Yorkers can sample from a menu of vibrant new talents. Writer/directors Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen are highlighted with Jellyfish, an exploration of intertwined lives in Tel Aviv that received the Cannes Film Festival’s Camera d’Or. Ballast, Lance Hammer’s highly acclaimed first film about the effect a man’s suicide has on the already tenuous relationships of the people of a rural Mississippi town, won both the director and cinematography (Lol Crawley) awards at Sundance this year, while Alex Rivera and writing partner David Riker’s future-set thriller Sleep Dealer, about a Mexican migrant worker who hacks into the wrong U.S. computer system, took home the festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The best screenplay winner from the Thessaloniki International Film Festival is also on display in Thanos Anastopoulos’s Homeric film, Correction, co-written with Vasilis Raissis. Conrad Clark received the New Directors Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival for Soul Carriage, an incisive look at China’s shift towards urbanization. Tia Lessin and Carl Deal’s exploration of post-Katrina New Orleans, Trouble the Water, and Daniel Robin’s my olympic summer — Sundance’s prizewinners for documentary and short filmmaking, respectively — will also be screened.
Long known to support emerging talents and fresh viewpoints, New Directors/New Films again presents a wide range of international perspectives. Korean-American Lee Isaac Chung’s debut film Munyurangabo investigates the aftermath of Rwandan genocide through the real-life experiences of his crew. A radical juxtaposition of scenes and imagery reflect on Haiti’s stormy political history in acclaimed short filmmaker Michelange Quay’s first feature, Eat, for This Is My Body. Rodrigo Plá’s La Zona, set in a Mexican gated community, focuses on a young robber on the run pitted against the private security firm that keeps the police at bay while they mete out their own form of vigilante justice. In We Went to Wonderland a trip to Europe by an elderly Chinese man and his wife becomes a voyage of discovery for them both, with a subtle commentary on globalization and clash of cultures by director Xiaolu Guo. The film is paired with short Flotsam Jetsam, which follows a Chinese opera troupe on board a Yangtse River submarine constructed by directors Patty Chang and David Kelley, in a film that deals with space, identity, and memory.
Adulthood issues are explored in several titles in this year’s lineup. In Momma’s Man director Azazel Jacobs casts his mother Flo and his filmmaker father Ken Jacobs as a couple who offer domestic refuge to their thirty-something son when he finds himself in midlife inertia. Lior Shamriz’s Japan Japan follows a young man from a small town to a metropolis (Tel Aviv) where, stuck in a dead-end job, he cruises cinemas for boys and surfs the Web for fantasies in foreign lands. France’s Céline Sciamma creates a world without adults in the complex web of relationships that define life for three teenage girls in Water Lilies. In her feature animation debut, director Emily Hubley creates a dynamic layering of live action and drawn images in The Toe Tactic to imagine the world of a young woman engulfed by loss, featuring the voice talents of Eli Wallach, Marian Seldes, Andrea Martin, and David Cross alongside newcomer Lily Rabe.
The festival’s HBO Films Roundtable offers a forum for interaction with filmmakers and in-depth discussion on the year’s vital theme. Titled New Directors and Beyond, the 2008 Roundtable focuses on a group of New Directors/New Films alumni who have sought independence from traditional means of film distribution. The experiences of these diverse film and video-makers illuminate the newest technologies and media being explored for maximum artistic exposure. At press time, panelists include Michael Almereyda (Another Girl, Another Planet, ND/NF 1993); Su Friedrich (The Ties that Bind, ND/NF 1985; Rules of the Road, NDNF 1993); Philip Haas (A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China, ND/NF 1988; Music of Chance, ND/NF 1993); Tamara Jenkins (Family Remains, NDNF 1994); Tom Kalin (Swoon, ND/NF 1992); Lodge Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven, ND/NF 1994); and Jim McKay (Our Song, ND/NF 2000; Everyday People, ND/NF 2004). The 2008 HBO Films Roundtable will be held at the Walter Reade Theater on Sunday, March 30, at 12:30 p.m.
Finally, ND/NF Classics celebrates five American independent filmmakers who have been featured in both New Directors/New Films and the Film Society’s New York Film Festival with afternoon screenings at the Walter Reade Theater. Screenings of films by Kevin Smith, Todd Solondz, Charles Burnett, Lodge Kerrigan, and Gregg Araki show just how far American filmmaking has come.
Program Overview. Click on Calendar to view the schedule, film descriptions and to purchase tickets online. Program schedules are available at Lincoln Center, in the lobbies of the Walter Reade Theater and Alice Tully Hall, as well as in The Museum of Modern Art’s main and theater lobbies. For New Directors/New Films Festival Box Office Information please call 212 875 5050.