About 40 years ago, New York City was covered in graffiti, teeming with crime, and on the edge of bankruptcy. But the punk scene was thriving. Some of the lesser known films from the era reflect a city with deserted streets, bohemian fashion, rebellion in the air, but most importantly, music everywhere. This weekend, the Museum of the Moving Image will present Downtown New York Film: The 1970s and 1980s. More information on this two-day festival and another photo are on the jump page.
Mad Men has driven viewers crazy over the past seven years, but the AMC drama about 1960s ad executive/ alpha male Don Draper will begin its final seven episodes on April 5th. The Museum of the Moving Image will mark the end of this era with an exhibition and a film series. On display from March 14th through June 14th, Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men explores the creative process behind the show with original sets, props, costumes, advertising art, and personal notes from Weiner, the creator. Information on the film series and more photos on jump page.
It’s an urban legend that allegedly took place in a rural area. Takako Konishi, an office worker from Tokyo, was found dead in a Minnesota field on November 15th, 2001. (That much is undisputed.) Her death was ruled a suicide, but an alternate theory has many believers: She died looking for money that was hidden in the 1996 movie Fargo, which she thought was based on a true story. This Thursday, independent filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner will be at the Museum of the Moving Image to participate in a preview screening and Q&A about their new feature film, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, which is based on this legend. More information and an additional photo are on the jump page.
Most don’t survive their third year, but the 5th Annual Queens World Film Festival is about to begin its six-day run on March 17, and it keeps growing and growing. A total of 116 flicks — of all imaginable lengths, themes, and languages — will screen at various venues in Astoria, Jackson Heights, the Kaufman Arts District, and Long Island City this year. But beforehand the organizers are going to hold a special night to introduce some of the filmmakers, festival directors, and special guests as well as show 10 trailers of selected movies. More information and another photo on jump page.
Gordon Willis was arguably the greatest New York City-based cinematographer ever. Working with such directors as Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen, this Astoria-born maverick had the ability to use shadow and underexposed film to gain commercial fame while shunning the Hollywood system. The Museum of the Moving Image is currently celebrating Willis (1931–2014) and his contribution to film as part of its ongoing, periodical See In Big! series, which shows classical movies on a large screen. With films scheduled on weekends through March 1st, the next one is this Friday. A list and another photo follow on the jump page.
It’s all fun and games at the Museum of the Moving Image this weekend. IndieCade East 2015, the Sundance for video game enthusiasts, will offer three days of panel discussions, workshops, and demonstrations with the industry’s most prominent inventors, designers, programmers, academics, artists, marketers and journalists. Mary Flanagan, founder of Tiltfactor game labs and Thomas Grip, co-founder of Frictional Games are the keynote speakers. The three-day extravaganza will feature a Show-and-Tell Lounge where aspiring developers will demonstrate their latest inventions and an eSports Showcase. On Saturday (Valentine’s Day), the museum will convert into an oversize arcade with party-style gameplay, large projections, and physically interactive theater battles.
An additional photo and more details after the jump. (more…)
Take a trip to Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, the US-Mexico border or even the World of Make Believe while physically staying in Western Queens. The Museum of the Moving Image will host a screening/Q&A/ demonstration with legendary animation expert Glen Keane on Thursday, followed by a weekend series of the best Latin American films of recent years. More info on jump page.
Come and visit. You’ll like it. Lonely Planet named Queens the best tourism destination for 2015 this morning. The travel media company commended the borough “for topicality and buzz-worthiness,” while praising the food, diversity, hotels, events, and unique neighborhoods.
“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria.”
The editorial continues: “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block Kaufman Arts District. If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”
Western South Dakota came in second on the list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).
Paramount Pictures is currently promoting Noah, an epic feature film based on the well-known Biblical character and his equally well-known ark. The movie has generated tremendous controversy and coverage by Christian and Jewish media outlets. Can mammon-soaked Hollywood create a film that respectfully portrays Noah and his tremendous faith? How much artistic license do the actors — including Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins — take?
This Monday, the Museum of the Moving Image will screen this blockbuster, followed by a wide-ranging conversation with Darren Aronofsky, the film’s director, and Patti Smith, who wrote a lullaby, “Mercy Is,” for the soundtrack. They will discuss everything from the spiritual details behind making the movie to how Smith, who is known as the “Godmother of Punk Rock,” could create a lullaby. Has she gone soft? At the end of the event, Smith, whose 1975 song “Gloria” includes the line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine,” will sing “Mercy Is.”
It’s the silver anniversary of the first free parliamentary elections in Poland, and the Museum of the Moving Image is celebrating with 13 films from the Eastern European country. Over 11 days, the Kaufman Arts District venue will screen seven features and six documentaries that were created between 1977 and 1990, the tumultuous time when communism begrudgingly gave way to the Solidarity movement. Some of the scheduled flicks were banned in their home country due to their negative portrayals of government. Interrogation, which is set during the height of Stalin’s power in the 1950s, depicts the imprisonment and torture of a Polish actress who refuses to denounce a friend. The Mother of Kings follows a widow and mother of four from the 1930s through the Stalinist era. Escape from the Liberty Cinema combines fantasy with political satire as actors step out of the screen to protest censorship.