Film Society of Lincoln Center and Hope for Film presents : Indie Night Screening Series - FRANCINE - Wednesday August

Hello again Film Friends, American Indie film is often too dialogue-heavy -- especially when that dialogue comes at the expense of other cinematic elements like performance, image, sound, time, and process. I have always been drawn to filmmakers who are willing to challenge themselves, and the audience by setting limits to what they provide, helping all of us to learn and grow in the process. With very few words ever spoken, Filmmakers Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky do just that with their deeply moving and highly disciplined first film FRANCINE.

Okay, some may say that when you have Melissa Leo to rest your camera on how can you go wrong. And granted it is rare to witness an actor as committed to her role as Ms. Leo is in Francine. But for me it is the director's approach to that performance that is the real triumph of commitment and discipline. Stripped of all sentimentality, yet still recognizing the emotional impact of camera placement, Cassidy & Shatzky achieve the remarkable feat of getting beneath Francine's skin to that unfathomable essence that explains without declaring.

Why does Francine do what she does? We don't know, but we feel that it is right and true. After all, isn't one of cinema's most remarkable achievements its ability to make us find ourselves and empathize with those with whom we have little in common? Francine is a testament to all humanity, our struggles and confusions, and our incredible capacity to both love and need love, regardless of the obstacles daily life throws at us.

I found myself wondering about all the ways FRANCINE achieved its magic, how I felt that it was a truly honest film. How often do we get to ask ourselves that and why is that? I often feel that filmmakers feel the necessity to deliver the familiar and explain away with attempts at revealing psychology. Cassidy & Shatzky abandon those tropes and instead make the everyday strange again. I am so thankful for their commitment and so moved by the work they have given us. I look forward to you joining me further in discussing it with them at the next "Indie Night".

Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/francine Like FRANCINE on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FrancineFilm Check out the website: www.francinethefilm.com Follow the film on twitter: @FrancineTheFilm

See you Wednesday August 1st at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Q&A after the film with the filmmakers!

Wednesday, August 1 8:00 PM Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center 144 W. 65TH St New York, NY 10023

This night is made possible by the continued support of our sponsors: Royal Bank of Canada & Fandor. Thank you!

Please mark your calendars for upcoming Indie Night screenings: Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 8 PM Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 8 PM Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8 PM Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8 PM

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film, Ted

Film Society of Lincoln Center and Hope for Film presents : Indie Night Screening Series - KID-THING - TONIGHT, Tuesday July 17 @ 8:00 pm

Dear film friends,

This is sort of urgent.

Good films don't get seen. Let's face it, the system is not working. Every summer I experience that same sensation: "there just aren't any movies that I really want to see". My 80 year old mom just went to see MOONRISE KINGDOM for the second time because there was nothing else to see. She does not live in NYC... but you do. You have entertainment & culture economies relatively based on choice & super-abundance (versus scarcity & control).

You can vote for the culture you want with your dollars. Simple acts have surprising results. What would happen if we refused to keep supporting a bland corporate culture based on test-marketing, remakes, and pat emotional response engineering? What if we demanded a cinema that still surprised us, took risks, and aimed for something a little more complicated and complex? Well, I for one think it would make the world a better place.

So I write to you now, for that reason. Don't let the heat get to you. Come out tonight (Tuesday) and see a good bit of bad behavior told with a desire to learn and not prove, with an empathy for people despite their faults, and a love for the absurdity that lingers in truth. Support indie film. Keep indie alive and help it thrive. We can build it better together.

I have been putting a lot of work in to my hopes that all I say above is true. I scour through DVDS and links searching for the best that indie has to offer. The Zellner Brothers' KID-THING is just that. They are flying in to our town to speak to you about it. How often can one due their duty but have fun doing it? Well tonight you can.

Read about what I said about this film here.

Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/kid-thing
Like KID-THING on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/KID-THING/191535430930013
Check out the website: www.kid-thing.com
You can see another collaboration between the Zellners & Aguirre on this music video here: www.vimeo.com/7201463

See you Tonight, Tuesday July 17th at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Q&A after the film with the filmmakers!

Tuesday, July 17
8:00 PM
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
144 W. 65TH St
New York, NY 10023

This night is made possible by the continued support of our sponsors: Royal Bank of Canada & Fandor. Thank you!

Please mark your calendars for upcoming Indie Night screenings:
Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 8 PM: FRANCINE
Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8 PM

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,
Ted

Film Society of Lincoln Center and Double Hope Films presents : Indie Night Screening Series - KID-THING - Tuesday July 17

Dear Film Friends,

This month's cinematic mystery is: "What allows for a great and truthful performance by a child?" I recognize that it is not an easy question to answer, beyond "I know one when I see one." The good news is I know you will see one when you come next Tuesday to see The Zellner Bros. KID-THING at "Indie Night" -- the monthly screening series I curate at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center. Sydney Aguirre delivers an incredibly cool, intense, and outright miraculous performance as Annie, the kid at the center of this "thing".

I have been a firm devotee that great performances by children have more to do with the director and the adult actors than the kids themselves, but in this Zellner Bros. "thing", it is one and the same.

What's it all about you ask? Well, there's not much going on in the rural area where Annie lives. One day she finds something somewhat remarkable. But even still, that doesn't change much of Annie's life. She's still the same old wild child running wild; small scale store heists, paint gun ambushes, random car assaults, baseball bat sudden attack cake smashes, prank phone calls, and a wonderful Baldiseri-esque use of stickers on passed out drunks. I am sure it's a lot like your childhood...

Kid-Thing may be the tale of a young girl's search for a moral compass, or it may be the character study of a future sociopath. By her discovery, Annie is given a choice, or a test. Can anything stir her from her growing lack of compassion? That question may remain, but our compassion for her is never at question.

The Zellner Bros. don't tackle these problems in the usual ways; you feel (thankfully) that they are artists in search of a cinema of their own. Their method is both naturalistic and simultaneously absurd. They achieve the Dadaists mandate to "make strange," but do so in a way that on first impression might feel casual -- but clearly comes from well schooled eyes. Their unique sense of humor plays against and with the drama, approximating a life that is true, spontaneous, and never schematic.

Taking us to new places, unique landscapes and odd situations, they never lose sight of the end goal of making us feel moved. The Zellners don't set out to prove what they know; they are taking risks here, and it pays off. They make discoveries by not following conventions, and a new truth emerges. Not many movies will ever be able to share the claim that they mix a caldron of memorable scenes involving demolition derbies, guitar playing dwarves, dead cows, and what may well be a devil down in the well -- all without it all being silly. Did I say all? Well, it wouldn't be a Zellner Brothers film if it wasn't silly somewhere.

We could not put on this series of the best of undistributed and artist distributed narrative features without the generous support of our sponsors Fandor and RBC (The Royal Bank Of Canada).  

Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/kid-thing
Like KID-THING on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/KID-THING/191535430930013
Check out the website: www.kid-thing.com
You can see another collaboration between the Zellners & Aguirre on this music video here: www.vimeo.com/7201463

See you Tuesday July 17th at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Q&A after the film with the filmmakers!

Tuesday, July 17
8:00 PM
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
144 W. 65TH St
New York, NY 10023

Please mark your calendars for upcoming Indie Night screenings:
Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 8 PM: FRANCINE
Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8 PM

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,
Ted

Film Society at Lincoln Center and Double Hope Films Present: Indie Night Screening Series - DARK HORSE - Wednesday June 6th

Dear Film Friends,

I think you know of my passion & commitment not just for indie film but also to the community that supports it -- and that community is you! You also probably recognize that I feel independent non-corporate culture is under siege and we have yet to determine a clear path out. I trust that you, like me, have the faith and hope that by keeping the big picture in focus, we can maintain cinema as a cultural force & social activity at the top of everyone's list.

So what the hell does this have to do with seeing a good movie next week you ask?

You probably know I have enjoyed a long producing relationship with Todd Solondz and his films. In the past (on the film HAPPINESS for example), my partners & I had to buy his work back from the distributors to make sure it could reach an audience. These are different times, but perhaps even more stark.

I have gone to greater lengths (although perhaps not as celebrated) than ever before to make his new film accessible in the most appropriate & fullest of ways for our community. I have chosen with DARK HORSE to extend the producer's job description still further, and produce the distribution. I am in no way doing it myself. We've pulled together an incredible team to make this happen. You might have read about that already here.

I confess: distribution is brutal. But it is going to be worth it. If we love indie culture, we can't just give it away for the privilege of putting it in front of an audience. We are focusing on theatrical first, generally holding onto the rights, and trusting the community will support it.

I love this film. It is Todd’s most accessible film yet. To quote Todd "I suppose I just wanted to see if I could make a movie without rape, pedophilia, or masturbation. I always think it's important to challenge oneself." Have no fear though: it is still very much a Solondz joint, populated with damaged souls, dark humor, and delightfully depressing antics. As usual, the actors' work is amazing to watch. As he did with Paul Giamatti and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Todd has launched a star of a wonderfully particular sort with Jordan Gelber. Tony Award-winner Donna Murphy is transcendent and complex. Selma Blair, Justin Bartha, Mia Farrow, and Christopher Walken not only deliver the greatness you'd anticipate from them, but do so in unexpected ways.

In many ways, I am betting the future of film on this movie and how we are handling it. With your support, maybe we will win the good fight. Thanks for joining us on the battle lines. Culture is always worth a little risk…

Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/dark-horse Watch the trailer here: www.darkhorsemovie.com/trailer.html Like DARK HORSE on Facebook: www.facebook.com/darkhorsemovie Check out the website: www.darkhorsemovie.com Follow DARK HORSE on twitter: @darkhorseabe

See you Wednesday June 6th at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Q&A after the film with Todd Solondz!

Wed, June 6 8:00 PM Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center 144 W. 65TH St New York, NY 10023

Please mark your calendars for upcoming Indie Night screenings: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 8 PM: KID THING Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 8 PM: FRANCINE Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 8 PM Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 8 PM Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8 PM Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8 PM

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,

Ted

Film Society at Lincoln Center and Double Hope Films Present: Indie Night Screening Series -- CARRÉ BLANC -- Wednesday May 2nd

This will be our 3rd Indie Night at Film Society Of Lincoln Center, and although I have been programming movies for you for close to three years now, I have not yet been able to bring you any sci-fi films.  That changes with this offering, and, man, it's been worth the wait.

When first features work, as this one does, they can be remarkable displays, often representing what the director has long dreamed of expressing, free of the general self-censorship that market considerations bring.  On their first feature,  creators often feel a far greater pressure to demonstrate what their authorial voice represents; perhaps it is because of this pressure that it is hard to find true confidence and discipline on display in many early works.  But, holy cow, that is that not the case with Jean-Baptiste Leonetti's CARRÉ BLANC (White Square) -- yet a further proof of the colossal wave of international greatness that is defining cinema today.

Whereas America's corporately engineered cinema implicitly lusts for a dystopian future while it delivers pat excuses of psychological backstory (instead of character complexity), empty images full of flash (but devoid of real-world emotion, politics, ethics, or meaning), surface level editing (that removes any understanding of place), a willingness to introduce new narrative elements solely to advance the plot, & shock  (for sensation not understanding), cinema worthy of the term art -- like CARRÉ BLANC -- does quite the opposite.   If you are looking  for an antidote to THE HUNGER GAMES or even want to see a true alternative, join us.  Some people may call CARRÉ BLANC too tense or brooding, dark or bleak -- but for me it is nothing short of exhilarating, heartfelt, electrifying. thoughtful, and fully capable of maintaining a sense of humor and fun in these dark times.  

Leonetti's nameless and brutal totalitarian regime is far more scary than what we've been delivered as of late precisely because it seems like a future we not only could have had, but still might.  CARRÉ BLANC is delivered in haunting precise images, sounds, and actions. Full of legitimate suspense, references and riffs, from Stanley Milgram's social science experiments to classic sic-fi cinema like SOYLENT GREEN & SILENT RUNNING, we are given a world that extends far beyond the narrative's confines, where constant threat of violence indicates the begging need for revolution -- be it of the society and it's practices or that of the individual's heart and mind.  At the heart of CARRÉ BLANC remains a love story, capturing both the trauma and shared mission that modern society needs to breed honest love and it does this with us, not in spite of us.

This is a world of cinema that I want more of: sci-fi for adults, expressing ideas while maintaining a discipline, love, and even sense of humor for composition, and an appreciative commitment to both restraint and excess -- the ying/yang that makes each element truly sing.  CARRÉ BLANC is a film that benefits from its financial limitations, enhancing its art with imagination, while remaining committed to cinema's core attributes of image, sound, & time (composition, juxtaposition, pace).  It raises the bar for what we should demand from all cinema.

CARRÉ BLANC is the type of film that summons your memories of great works by the great directors, and it doesn't suffer for it.  BRAZIL, 2001, SOLARIS, THX 1138.  It made me giddy in the same way that Aronofsky's PI & Jone's MOON did, in that I knew a major new director arrived, and one that would take me to places I myself would never imagine, yet once arrived, would forever dream (not always pleasantly!) about.

Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/carre-blanc

If the following review doesn't make you order a ticket right now then you clearly are not the audience for the film: www.dailyfilmdose.com/2011/09/tiff-2011-carre-blabc.html

"George Orwell as filtered through Andrei Tarkovsky" -- Todd Brown / Twitch.com

And more: smellslikescreenspirit.com/2011/09/carre-blanc-review/

Watch the trailer here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3X4YW50Ptk

And please come see the film Wednesday May 2nd at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Wed, May 2

8:00 PM

Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center

144 W. 65TH St

New York, NY 10023

Take a break and come join me, director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, and some of his team at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Indie Night”.

Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,

Ted