Upcoming Screenings

Quest
May 23rd, 2018

Quest
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2018 / 7:00pm
Burning Books


2017 / 104 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Jonathan Olshefski
Print supplied by: POV

Please join us for a special screening of Jonathan Olshefski’s acclaimed documentary Quest [2017]. This event is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

Ticket Information: Free and Open to the Public

• Stop in early for FREE Breadhive baked goods while supplies last! •


Event Sponsors:


420 Connecticut St, Buffalo, NY 14213


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of website:

Filmed with vérité intimacy for nearly a decade, Quest is the moving portrait of the Rainey family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, and his wife, Christine’a “Ma Quest” raise a family while nurturing a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. It’s a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can’t always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Epic in scope, Quest is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, healing and hope.

World Premiere: U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

Director Statement

courtesy of press kit:

This film started off as a chance encounter while I was teaching a photography class in North Philadelphia a few blocks away from the Raineys’ home/music studio. It is a reflection of a relationship. It mirrors the friendship that I have developed with the Rainey family and their community over the last ten years. That friendship is the most precious thing to me—the film and all that comes from it is a bonus.

I came to Philadelphia in 2000 after growing up in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a relatively diverse town and is pretty integrated. I went to elementary school in the ‘80s and ‘90s and old school hip hop was just a part of the culture I was immersed in, even though I liked oldies at the time. Many of my classmates, my bus drivers and the recess ladies wore the gear and sang the songs. I loved so many of them and thus was imprinted positively by that world. When I came to Philly to go to Temple University I fell in love with the city, but recognized that many of its communities we really struggling. I was surprised by how segregated it was with its stark barriers between communities of different races and ethnicities. It was a contrast to my experience in Pittsburgh. I had a deep desire to see healing and connection across these artificial barriers and after graduation was searching for opportunities to make that happen. At the time, I was making experimental films and getting into photography of interesting spaces (abandoned warehouses and buildings etc.), but did not see any correlation between my art and my desire for connection. I had no interest in documentary.

When I first met Chris and Christine’a Rainey (Quest and Ma Quest), I was working construction and making art on the side. When I learned about Quest’s balancing of the studio and the paper delivery route I saw myself. I could relate to the juggle of the passion project and the day job. We began a photo essay project that would convey that dynamic, which lead to me sleeping in their studio in order to be up and ready to join the paper route at 3am. After spending so much time with the Raineys and their community, I quickly realized that the essential story was not the studio and the paper route, but the family and their community. I also began to realize the limits of still photography and want to find another medium that would better reflect the complexity and points of view of my subjects. This lead to the decision to make my first documentary film.

Over the years I have often been asked, “What right do you have, as a white man, to make a film about a Black community?” I don’t know if I am the one to answer that question. I made the film and I stand by my choices, but I don’t think I have any inherent right and I am very aware of the long history of privileged filmmakers going into communities that are not their own to take stories and craft them for other audiences outside of the community. This can be an incredibly destructive process and marginalize the place and its people, especially when it is a place that was already marginalized.

Stories are incredibly powerful. Who tells them, how they are told, and who they are told to is important.

I will say that I did make this film for North Philadelphia and places like it. My original vision for the film was to use it to promote the Raineys’ studio to share their message of hope and community and to bring the film to different neighborhoods around Philly and maybe even go to other cities with the Raineys and their artists. I could have never dreamed it would show in Sundance when making it, but my hope is that this experience enhances our ability to create a context around the film so that North Philly benefits from it. I believe that a story well-told and brought to a place in a compassionate way can build bridges and strengthen community.

Films surely reflect the voice of the director, but my goal as a director is not to just push my own personal feelings, but to reflect a respect and honor for my subjects and accurately reflect and amplify their perspectives and feelings. My only agenda is to provide viewer the opportunity to connect to these really incredible individuals and share the love that I have for them. That is what I want the viewer to take away. These are people whose voices should be heard.

Director Bio

courtesy of POV:

Jonathan Olshefski is an artist and documentary filmmaker. In 2017, he was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and was listed in The New York Times as one of “The 9 New Directors You Need to Watch.” Quest is his debut feature documentary and premiered in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Olshefski strives to tell intimate and nuanced stories that honor his subjects’ complexity. He has an M.F.A. in film and media arts from Temple University and is an associate professor of radio, TV and film at Rowan University. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two sons.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

4/22/18 – “Quest speaks volumes about working-class life and the necessity of community, parenting, perseverance, speaking out, speaking up, hope.” David Fear, Rolling Stonelink

Cold Water
June 7th, 2018

Cold Water
Thursday, June 7th, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


1994 / 92 minutes / French with English subtitles / Color
Directed by: Olivier Assayas
Print supplied by: Janus Films

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we celebrate the work of Olivier Assayas. Our first selection is a one-night screening of the brand new restoration of Cold Water [L’eau froide] [1994].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Synopsis

courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival:

Christine and Gilles fall in love in the cultural-economic no-man’s land of suburban Paris, where the present is bleak and the future worse. Gilles’ father dominates him and “protects” him from adulthood; Chrstine’s parents are divorced and she is the battlefield between them. The two shoplift some records and, when Christine is caught, her father has her institutionalized for “emotional disturbance.” Released after a day of valium and counseling, she decides at a party to visit a friend in the country and wants Gilles to come with her. He must decide whether he is ready to grow up.

The film is set in 1972, but little has changed: recently, French youth staged massive protests about the lack of possibilities after school. But L’eau froide is about more than social malaise. Director Olivier Assayas, who has had many films shown in this Festival, takes a tough, confrontational, far-from-optimistic approach. Given the temptations—teen love, dysfunctional families—Assayas steadfastly avoids sentimentality and melodrama, instead engaging our emotions with a clear-headed approach to the material.

He keeps focus on Christine and Gilles (the two leads are astonishingly good), his constantly moving camera capturing every detail of their background. Indeed, that moving, often hand-held camera imparts a good deal of the emotional instability of the protagonists. The sound track has been as carefully created as the images, with music kept at a minimum until the party—when the young couple believes escape is possible—and then rock music of the period floods the screen.

Assayas has consistently produced work of great emotional power with a minimum of artifice. Last year’s Une nouvelle vie immediately comes to mind, but L’eau froide is, in many ways, a more courageous film, if only in its ability to chronicle unflinchingly the reality of both his own generation and the desolation of contemporary suburban youth culture. This is an important film from a major young director.

Written by Dimitri Eipides

Director Bio

“With Irma Vep, all of a sudden I decided that it was okay to mix genre, to mix cultures, and that movies sometimes could be experiments, that within the format of modern cinema, within the format of narrative, you could experiment by mixing elements.”

courtesy of Festival Scope:

Olivier Assayas (born January 25, 1955) is a French film director and screenwriter. He made his debut in 1986, after directing some short films and writing for the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma. Assayas’s father was French director/screenwriter Jacques Rémy (1910–1981). He started his career in the industry by helping him and ghostwrote episodes for TV shows his father was working on when his health failed. Assayas’s film COLD WATER was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. His biggest hit to date has been IRMA VEP, starring Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung, which is a tribute both to French director Louis Feuillade and to Hong Kong cinema. While working at Cahiers du cinéma, Assayas wrote lovingly about European film directors he admired but also about Asian directors. One of his latest films is a documentary about Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien. He married Hong Kong movie actress Maggie Cheung in 1998. They divorced in 2001, but their relationship remained amicable, and in 2004 Cheung made her award-winning movie CLEAN with him. He then married actress-director Mia Hansen-Løve. They met when Hansen-Løve, seventeen at the time, starred in Assayas’s 1998 feature LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER. He directed and co-wrote the acclaimed 2010 French television miniseries CARLOS, about the life of the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez. The actor Édgar Ramírez won the César Award for Most Promising Actor in 2011 for his performance as Carlos. In April 2011, it was announced that he would be a member of the jury for the main competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. His 2012 film, SOMETHING IN THE AIR, was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice IFF. Assayas won the Osella for Best Screenplay at Venice. His next two film, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (2013) and PERSONAL SHOPPER (2016) both played in the official competition at Cannes.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

5/17/18 – “The beautiful and heartbreaking plot culminates in a party at and around a country house, and Assayas’s sustained treatment of this event—the raging bonfire, the dope, the music and dancing—truly catches you by the throat. The drifting, circling handheld camera of Irma Vep is equally in evidence here, moving among characters with the nervous energy of a moth, showing us their isolation as well as their moments of union. One of the key French films of the 90s.” Jonathan Rosenbaum , The Chicago Readerlink

Irma Vep
June 21st, 2018

Irma Vep
Thursday, June 21st, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


1996 / 99 minutes / French & English / Color
Directed by: Olivier Assayas
Print supplied by: Janus Films

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we celebrate the work of Olivier Assayas. Our second selection is a one-night screening of the brand new restoration of Irma Vep [1996].

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of San Francisco International Film Festival:

Luminous Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung (as herself) is summoned to Paris by director René Vidal (Jean-Pierre Léaud) to play the lead in an insane undertaking—a silent remake of Louis Feuillade’s 1916 serial Les vampires. And she’s constantly left behind rather than catered to amidst the chaos of warring personalities on the set: the witchy production coordinator (Dominique Faysse), a loud-mouthed TV reporter (Antoine Basler) with an anti-art film bias and the mysteriously and aggressively intrusive Mireille (Bulle Ogier), among others, all of whom flit across the screen like phantoms. Olivier Assayas’s dizzying, poetic and exhilarating microcosm of modern life was written, shot, edited and mixed in record time (five months), and the sense of breathless speed fueled the finished product. Assayas put his constraints to work for him to create a film that is absolutely up-to-the-minute and liberating, a direct, free-form address to its audience. At the center of it all is the human ballast that keeps Irma Vep on course: the confused but tender relationship between Maggie and Zoë (Nathalie Richard, in the film’s standout performance). Irma Vep is very funny, although the laughs tend to catch in your throat because this is no cozy love letter to filmmaking, like Day for Night of Living in Oblivion, as the film’s final tortured, mindbending images demonstrate.

Written by Kent Jones

Director Bio

“With Irma Vep, all of a sudden I decided that it was okay to mix genre, to mix cultures, and that movies sometimes could be experiments, that within the format of modern cinema, within the format of narrative, you could experiment by mixing elements.”

courtesy of Festival Scope:

Olivier Assayas (born January 25, 1955) is a French film director and screenwriter. He made his debut in 1986, after directing some short films and writing for the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma. Assayas’s father was French director/screenwriter Jacques Rémy (1910–1981). He started his career in the industry by helping him and ghostwrote episodes for TV shows his father was working on when his health failed. Assayas’s film COLD WATER was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. His biggest hit to date has been IRMA VEP, starring Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung, which is a tribute both to French director Louis Feuillade and to Hong Kong cinema. While working at Cahiers du cinéma, Assayas wrote lovingly about European film directors he admired but also about Asian directors. One of his latest films is a documentary about Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien. He married Hong Kong movie actress Maggie Cheung in 1998. They divorced in 2001, but their relationship remained amicable, and in 2004 Cheung made her award-winning movie CLEAN with him. He then married actress-director Mia Hansen-Løve. They met when Hansen-Løve, seventeen at the time, starred in Assayas’s 1998 feature LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER. He directed and co-wrote the acclaimed 2010 French television miniseries CARLOS, about the life of the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez. The actor Édgar Ramírez won the César Award for Most Promising Actor in 2011 for his performance as Carlos. In April 2011, it was announced that he would be a member of the jury for the main competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. His 2012 film, SOMETHING IN THE AIR, was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice IFF. Assayas won the Osella for Best Screenplay at Venice. His next two film, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (2013) and PERSONAL SHOPPER (2016) both played in the official competition at Cannes.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

5/17/18 – “Olivier Assayas likes to ping-pong between high-nicotine grunge and family tapestries, with erratic results, but his trippily unique Irma Vep (1996) remains a perfect, hilarious, hand-held torrent of rock-n-roll movie-ness, satirizing the chaotic life of “art film” production even as it embodies it, with Maggie Cheung as herself, wading into a post-post-nouvelle vague landscape where classical cinephilia is openly sixty-nining with The New.” Michael Atkinson, The L Magazinelink

The Virgin Suicides
July 19th, 2018

The Virgin Suicides
Thursday, July 19th, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2000 / 97 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Print supplied by: Swank

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we showcase the debut features of some of today’s modern visionary filmmakers with a year-long series dubbed Women Direct. Our fifth selection is Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides [2000] with an introduction by Nichols High School’s Classic Movie Night curator Andrea Mancuso.

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of Turner Classic Movies:

On the surface the Lisbons appear to be a normal 1970s family living in a middle-class Michigan suburb. Mr. Lisbon is a quirky math teacher, his wife is a strictly religious mother of five attractive teenage daughters who catch the eyes of the neighborhood boys. However, when 13-year-old Cecilia commits suicide, the family spirals downward into a creepy state of isolation and the remaining girls are quarantined from social interaction (particularly from the opposite sex) by their zealously protective mother. But the strategy backfires, their seclusion makes the girls even more intriguing to the obsessed boys who will go to absurd lengths for a taste of the forbidden fruit.

Director Bio

courtesy of The Beguiled‘s press notes:

“Perhaps it makes sense that a woman whose earliest memory was on the set of Apocalypse Now would grow up to direct a dark fable about five adolescent girls who unapologetically and unceremoniously kill themselves…”

Sofia Coppola grew up in Northern California. After doing costume design on two feature films, she studied Fine Art at California Institute of the Arts.

She then wrote and directed the short film Lick the Star (which world-premiered at the Venice International Film Festival), followed by the feature The Virgin Suicides. Ms. Coppola wrote the screenplay for the latter film, adapting it from Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel of the same name. The movie starred Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, James Woods, and Kathleen Turner. A world premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival, The Virgin Suicides subsequently earned her the MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker.

Ms. Coppola’s next film, Lost in Translation, was her first with Focus Features, and screened at the Toronto, Venice, and Telluride Film Festivals. The movie brought her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as well as Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Picture (in her capacity as producer). Lost in Translation stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson won BAFTA Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, among many other honors that the cast and crew received worldwide.

Her third feature as writer/director, Marie Antoinette, was based in part on Antonia Fraser’s biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey, and world-premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival. The movie, which Ms. Coppola also produced, starred Kirsten Dunst in the title role. The film’s costume designer, Milena Canonero, won an Academy Award for her work on the picture.

She then wrote and directed and produced Somewhere, her second movie with Focus Features. The movie starred Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning, who received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for her performance. In its world premiere at the 2010 Venice International Film Festival, Somewhere won the Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture. Ms. Coppola was honored with a Special Filmmaking Achievement Award from the National Board of Review.

Her next feature as writer/director/producer was The Bling Ring, which she based on Nancy Jo Sales’ Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins.” The movie world-premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival, and Ms. Coppola was honored at Women In Film’s Lucy Awards with its Dorothy Arzner Award for Directing.

In 2015, she co-wrote, executive-produced, and directed the hourlong holiday special A Very Murray Christmas, which received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Music Direction. The show’s star, Bill Murray, was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award; and Ms. Coppola was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award for her work on the project.


Photo: WARNAND/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

Brimstone & Glory
August 23rd, 2018

Brimstone & Glory
Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2017 / 67 minutes / Spanish with English subtitles / Color
Directed by: Viktor Jakovleski
Print supplied by: POV

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we present a special one-night screening of Viktor Jakovleski’s Brimstone & Glory [2017]. This event is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

Ticket Information: Free and Open to the Public


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press kit:

The National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, is a site of festivity unlike any other in the world. In celebration of San Juan de Dios, patron saint of firework makers, conflagrant revelry engulfs the town for ten days. Artisans show off their technical virtuosity, up-and-
comers create their own rowdy, lofi combustibles, and dozens of teams build larger-than-life papier-mâché bulls to parade into the town square, adorned with fireworks that blow up in all directions. More than three quarters of Tultepec’s residents work in pyrotechnics, making the festival more than revelry for revelry’s sake. It is a celebration that anchors a way of life built around a generations old, homegrown business of making fireworks by hand. For the people of Tultepec, the National Pyrotechnic Festival is explosive celebration, unrestrained delight and real peril. Plunging headlong into the fire, Brimstone & Glory honors the spirit of Tultepec’s community and celebrates celebration itself.

Edited by Affonso Gonçalves and scored by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, the creative team of Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Director's Statement

courtesy of press kit:

I strive to bring to cinema a kind of transporting sense of adventure. Through new images, colors, and sounds, the goal is to explore fresh and vital worlds with thrilling abandon. In Brimstone & Glory we went on a voyage to capture the world of Tultepec, Mexico, its prodigious pyrotechnicians, their fireworks, and the fiestas thrown in their honor. Our aim was to create an experiential rollercoaster ride through the explosions, fire, and smoke.

Not long ago, I fell in love with the writing of Mexican Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz. It was his Labyrinth of Solitude with its passage “The Day Of The Dead” that inspired me to explore the incredible phenomenon of the Mexican fiesta and the lengths people go to reach the zenith of joyful expression. Paz writes, “All are possessed by violence and frenzy. Their souls explode like the colors and voices and emotions… The fiesta is a cosmic experiment in disorder, reuniting contradictory elements and principles in order to bring about renascence of life.” It was also at this time that I learned of Tultepec from a Berlin-based artist who had visited the fireworks festival with his cousin, a pyrotechnician. The artist took photographs that he would later turn into paintings. Seeing these extraordinary images and hearing the outsized tales of his exploits made it impossible for me to resist visiting. The visual and aural experience of the festival was something beyond comprehension. It was visceral and all-consuming, intense and freeing.

Using a combination of shooting styles—from in-the-fray handheld photography, to filming 1,500 frames per second with the high-speed Phantom, to slapping down GoPros to capture dynamic, as-yet-unseen vantage points—we seek to offer a viewing experience that most closely represents the feeling of being there. From the pyrotechnicians handcrafting fireworks to the townspeople dancing in showers of sparks, we use cinematic language to articulate how risk and danger are inseparable from acts of extreme revelry, and how such celebration is something fundamentally human.

Director Bio

courtesy of press kit:

Viktor Jakovleski is a Berlin-based filmmaker. He has directed and produced videos for internationally renowned electronic musicians and produced the German feature film Lenalove, which was released in selected German cinemas in September 2016.

Viktor spent four years making Brimstone & Glory, returning to the annual festival in Tultepec, Mexico, three times. In the final shoot in 2016, he was struck by one of the festival’s iconic “bulls” and was severely injured.

Viktor’s next project centers around Berlin artist Julius von Bismarck and his dangerous expedition to the Catatumbo Delta at Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, the area with highest occurrence of natural lightning strikes in the world, to examine and ultimately catch lightning by shooting rockets into storm clouds.

In 2015, Viktor was chosen as one of 25 “New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine.

He served as contributing director to the documentary 11/4/08 (2010), which premiered at SXSW, and co-produced and assistant directed Benh Zeitlin’s award winning film Glory at Sea! (2008). He also attended the producing program at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) and for several years worked at Studio Babelsberg.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

Appropriate Behavior
September 20th, 2018

Appropriate Behavior
Thursday, September 20th, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


2015 / 86 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Desiree Akhavan
Print supplied by: Swank

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we showcase the debut features of some of today’s modern visionary filmmakers with a year-long series dubbed Women Direct. Our sixth selection is Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behavior [2015] with an introduction by Peach Mag visual arts curator Caitlin Coder.

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of press notes:

For Shirin (Desiree Akhavan), being part of a perfect Persian family isn’t easy. Acceptance eludes her from all sides: her family doesn’t know she’s bisexual, and her ex-girlfriend, Maxine (Rebecca Henderson), can’t understand why she doesn’t tell them. Even the six-year-old boys in her moviemaking class are too ADD to focus on her for more than a second. Following a family announcement of her brother’s betrothal to a parentally approved Iranian prize catch, Shirin embarks on a private rebellion involving a series of pansexual escapades, while trying to decipher what went wrong with Maxine.

Written and directed by Akhavan, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR introduces a gray area to the coming-out narrative; in an Iranian-American family, sharing information about one’s sexuality isn’t always the right approach to liberation. With her priceless deadpan delivery, Akhavan’s portrayal of Shirin is the film’s true revelation—a woman caught between self-doubt and self-possession, trapped in a web of family mores and societal expectations, with all their accompanying—and often hilarious—complexities.


Written by Kim Yutani

Director Statement/Bio

courtesy of press notes:

Statement:

I’ve been in development for APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR since I was 10. As a latch-key child of immigrants, it was around that age that I started realizing what a freak of nature I was. Even though I had the perspective, wit and desires of a normal person, these qualities were somehow mismatched to the circumstances I was born to (female/ Iranian-American/bisexual). I knew if I wanted to see reflections of myself in mainstream culture I’d have to do it myself.

The film is inspired by my experience facing life after my first serious relationship with a woman. Not only was I heartbroken, but also experiencing the most uncomfortable phase of the coming out process: the time that follows after you’ve made the big announcement. Your family has no idea of how to process the information and you can’t look them in the eye without wondering if they’re imagining you having gay sex now that they know that you’re capable of it. I decided I wanted to make a film that touched on the themes that were ruling my life, but without the classic film cliches: no huge break-through hugging-through-our-tears coming out scene, no clear cut definitions of good and bad, no taking itself too seriously and sex scenes that were honest and true to dating and fucking as I know it.

I chose to star in the film because it would have been disingenuous to have hired a better looking version of me. The film is so clearly a response to my life and my desires, I wanted to put it all on the line. Though it is not autobiographical and the exact events in the film have not taken place, the emotions are true to life, only I evoked them in scenarios that were convenient for the sake of a 90 minute comedy. I was very much influenced by ANNIE HALL and it was that film that inspired the film’s structure, which dances back and forth between past and the present.

I’m beginning to notice the terms “Women’s Film” and “Gay Film” are seen as dirty words. “Iranian film” is a bit better- more highbrow, but still a chore. The “Iranian Film” is the DVD that arrives and holds up the flow of your Netflix queue for about a month. The one you keep promising to watch on Sunday night, but instead find yourself glued to MISERY, which happens to be on TV that night. I wanted to make a film that didn’t feel like “taking your medicine.” It’s a comedy, but beneath the surface we’ve set out to communicate something very real about the complexity of being openly bisexual, the subtle rivalry and love between siblings and the crushing expectations that come along with being the child of immigrants.


Bio:

Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan is the co-creator and star of the critically acclaimed web series THE SLOPE, a comedy that follows a pair of superficial, homophobic lesbians in love. Her first feature, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Desiree was featured as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and will appear on the next season of GIRLS. She has a BA from Smith College and an MFA from NYU’s Grad Film Program.

Links

Here is a curated selection of links shared on our Facebook page for additional insight/information:

1/28/18 – Congratulations to Desiree Akhavan, writer/director/star of Appropriate Behavior, who last night won the 2018 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for her new film The Miseducation of Cameron Post! – link

3/7/18 – “Categorisation is also an issue that affected Desiree Akhavan, writer, director and star of 2015’s Appropriate Behaviour, and the US Grand Jury Prize-winning The Miseducation of Cameron Post, at this year’s Sundance. Even though Appropriate Behaviour is a dramedy exploring female sexuality and identity, and therefore well within the sphere of suitable material for a woman director, the reception of Akhavan’s film can be seen as indicative of a tendency to situate women in relation to other women filmmakers, to compare and label them, instating something like a ‘one at a time’ rule. Appropriate Behaviour offers a candid portrait of sex and relationships and following Akhavan’s guest-role in Girls, the press repeatedly referred to her as ‘the next Lena Dunham’.” – link

Daughters of the Dust
November 8th, 2018

Daughters of the Dust
Thursday, November 8th, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center


1991 / 112 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Julie Dash
Print supplied by: Cohen Film Collection

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we showcase the debut features of some of today’s modern visionary filmmakers with a year-long series dubbed Women Direct. Our last selection is Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust [1991] with an introduction by artist / poet Annette Daniels Taylor.

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members


Event Sponsors:


341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202


Trailer

Synopsis

courtesy of Cohen Media Group:

At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots.

Cohen Media Group is proud to present the 25th anniversary restoration of director Julie Dash’s landmark film Daughters of the Dust. The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, Daughters of the Dust was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991. Casting a long legacy, Daughters of the Dust still resonates today, most recently as a major in influence on Beyonce’s video album Lemonade. Restored (in conjunction with UCLA) for the first time with proper color grading overseen by cinematographer AJ Jafa, audiences will finally see the film exactly as Julie Dash intended.

Director Statement/Bio

courtesy of press kit:

Statement:

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST is the cinema of images and ideas.

Images play a major role in the complex process that shapes our identity. When images of African-American women are depicted on the screen by someone outside of our culturem it is a projection of that filmmaker’s mind — not an expression of our reality. The films that I make are from a Black aesthetic and from an African-American woman’s reality. I make the kinds of films that I’ve always wanted to see.

My films are about women at pivotal moments in their lives; enigmatic women who are juggling complex psyches; who speak to one another in fractured sentences, yet communicate completely through familiar gestures and stances; women who remind me of my old neighborhood and the women who raised me.

My approach to the writing and directing of this film has been to evoke ancient sensibilities, to challenge the conventional formats of representing Black women in the genre of historical drama.


Bio:

Julie Dash was born and raised in New York City. She is an independent filmmaker who has received wide recognition for her work; Ms. Dash tours nationally and internationally with her films. Prints of her films, ILLUSIONS and FOUR WOMEN have been permanently archived at Indiana University and at Clark College in Atlanta. She is currently working on a series of films depicting Black women in the United States from the turn of the century to the year 2000 A.D.

Ms. Dash has a 1991/92 Fulbright Fellowship to London to collaborate on a screenplay with Maureen Blackwood of Sankofa. In 1989, she won a Rockefeller Intercultural Film Fellowship. In 1981, she was the recipient of a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for her work in film. She just completed fer first feature length film, DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, for an American Playhouse theatrical release in 1992. DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST won the first prize award in cinematography, for dramatic film, at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Her critically acclaimed short film, ILLUSIONS, has won the 1989 Jury Prize for the Best Film of The Decade, awarded by the Black Filmmaker Foundation. ILLUSIONS was nominated for a 1988 Cable ACE Award in Art Direction, and was the season opener of “Likely Stories,” The Learning Channel’s new series showcasing fictional works by independent filmmakers. In 1985, she was a recipient of the Black American Cinema Society award for ILLUSIONS.

In 1986, she relocated to Atlanta, Georgia from Los Angeles. Ms. Dash had been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to work as a directing apprentice, in Atlanta, on “Leader Of The Band”. Later, she began working with the Atlanta-based National Black Women’s Health Project on a six-part media presentation on adolescent pregnancy.

In 1985, 1983, and 1981, she was the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1981, she was awarded an Independent Filmmaker’s Grant from the American Film Institute (AFI).

From 1978 to 1980, Ms. Dash worked for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), in Los Angeles, as a member of the Classifications and Rating Administration. One of six voting board members, she made daily decisions that vitally affected the fortunes of more than 350 movies made each of those years; she screened all film for distribution in the United States to apply a G, PG, R or X rating. On several occasions during her three-year tenure with the Ratings board, she travelled to Pinewood Studios in London on special assignment screenings.

On two of these MPAA European assignments, Ms. Dash was able to attend and participate in the Cannes International Film Festival in France. At the 1980 festival, she co-sponsored a screening of short films by Black Americans in the Marche du Cinema. This screening led directly to the historic retrospective of Afro-American cinema held in October 1980 at FNAC in Paris at the Forum Les Halles.

In February of 1982, she travelled with a delegation of Black American independent filmmakers to attend a film festival sponsored by the National Film Theater of London and the British Commonwealth Institute. This festival occasioned the historical meeting of Black American independent filmmakers with their British counterparts.

In March of 1982, Ms. Dash, along with two other participants from the British tour, was invited to attend the Festival Against Racism in Amiens, France.

During the summer of 1983, two of her films toured throughout forty African countries in the Black Filmmaker Foundation’s “American Films: A Touring Exhibition”. This tour marked the first time that an African audience was exposed to the works of Black American independent filmmakers.

Julie began studying film production in 1969, at the Studio Museum of Harlem, in New York. Later as an undergraduate at The City College of New York, she majored in psychology until she was accepted into the film studies program at The Leonard Davis Center for the Performing Arts, in the David Picker Film Institute. Before graduation, she wrote and produced a promotional documentary for the New York Urban Coalition, WORKING MODELS OF SUCCESS (1974).

With a B.A. in Film Production, Ms. Dash relocated to Los Angeles to attend the Center for Advanced Film Studies at the American Film Institute. At AFI, she studied under several distinguished filmmakers, including William Friedkin, Jan Kadar, and Slavko Vorkapich.

Influenced by Vorkapich’s lectures on Kinesthetic responses in cinema, she conceived and directed FOUR WOMEN (1978), an experimental dance film that received a Gold Medal for Women In Film at the 1978 Miami International Film Festival. During her two-year fellowship at AFI, she completed ENEMY OF THE SUN, a feature length screenplay.

Ms. Dash directed DIARY OF AN AFRICAN NUN (1977), as a graduate film student at the University of California, Los Angeles. DIARY OF AN AFRICAN NUN, an adpatation of a short story written by Alice Walker, was screened at the Los Angeles Film Exposition (FLIMEX) and gained her a Director’s Guild Award for a student film.

Her most publicized and critically examined work, ILLUSIONS (1983), a drama set in 1942, completes the first segment of her series about Black women in the United States. Clyde Taylor writes in Freedomways magazine, “Black independents (film) have passed through several conceptual periods in which one doctrine or style was dominant now they seem to be moving towards greater diversity. An important harbinger of this mellowing out is Julie Dash’s remarkable ILLUSIONS, which, like recent developments in architecture and jazz, is post-modernist in its historical eclecticism. Dash’s refreshing challenge is to assume that her audiences can think and bring to their viewing of her work some knowledge of cinema. Set in a Hollywood studio during World War II, when commercial film production was at its most propagandistic, ILLUSIONS plays inventively on themes of cultural, sexual, and racial domination. While its touch is light and entertaining, it offers the most searing revelation in any medium of the expropriation of Black popular culture by the U.S. mass culture industry …”.

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