Greeting Summer With Great Cinema

BAMcinemaFest 2017 Filmmakers

The ninth edition of BAMcinemaFest, the eagerly anticipated annual Brooklyn banquet of fiction, documentary and hybrid independent films, includes 28 features (24 New York premieres, one North American premiere and two world premieres) and nine shorts.

Gina Duncan, BAM’s Associate Vice President, Cinema, says. “From (Michael Showalter’s) endearing comedy ‘The Big Sick’ to the micro-budget ‘Princess Cyd,’ (directed by Stephen Cone), and ‘Lemon,’ the audacious first feature from Janicza Bravo, the line-up truly reflects the breadth of American independent cinema today. (A few of the) other highlights include the (Centerpiece selection), the world premiere of Jim McKay’s, ‘En el Séptimo Día,’ an instant classic, all the more powerful for its relevance, Aaron Katz’s sophisticated genre piece, ‘Gemini,’ (which opens the festival), ‘Common Carrier,’ a cinematic mixtape from the Bushwick-based filmmaker, James N. Kienitz Wilkins, and for the first time, two features from the same filmmaker, Michael Almereyda–‘Escapes’ and ‘Marjorie Prime.’”

BAMcinemaFest 2017 Filmmakers

Alex Ross Perry’s fifth feature (Closing Night) and his third to screen as part of BAMcF), “Golden Exits,” is a jarring and often humorous observation of an interlocking group of Brooklyn residents who have too much (including buckets of neuroses) and are unsettled by the arrival of a lovely young Australian woman.

This year’s Spotlight selections are Gillian Robespiere’s “Landline,” an “irreverent 90s-set comedy about sex, lies, and discord within a Manhattan family,” starring Jenny Slate, Edie Falco and John Turturro; and David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” his second feature to pair Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, who is inexplicably moving as he–and I’m taking it on faith that it is the great actor–spends most of the film (and a journey through time) under an oversized sheet with two expressionless ovals cut out for eyes.

“Our Song” (2000), Jim McKay’s exploration of female friendship, featuring Kerry Washington, Melissa Martinez and Anna Simpson as teenage BFFs in Crown Heights, dealing with big and small crises, is this year’s free, outdoor screening in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

And for the sixth year, I’m really happy to be working with BAMcinématek, photographing the filmmakers in my studio.

BAMcinemaFest opens today and continues through June 25.

BAMcinemaFest 2017 Filmmakers

Top Grid, clockwise from top left: Andrew Dosunmu, Aaron Katz, Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein, Gillian Robespierre. All images © Robin Holland.

Middle Grid, clockwise from top left: Alex Ross Perry, James N. Kienitz Wilkins, Jim McKay, Nanfu Wang. All images © Robin Holland.

Bottom Grid, clockwise from top left: Alex Smith, Rachel Wolther and Alex H. Fischer, Ana Asensio, Jim Strouse. All images © Robin Holland.

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