The Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look Festival Unveils 2024 Lineup
ManOfTheCenturyMovie News The Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look Festival Unveils 2024 Lineup

The Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look Festival Unveils 2024 Lineup



The Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look Festival Unveils 2024 Lineup

The annual Museum of the Moving Image‘s First Look Festival has given IndieWire an exclusive “first look” at the lineup.

The 13th annual event, which takes place March 13 through 17 in Astoria, Queens, opens with the New York premiere of Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez’s “Sujo,” which recently took home the Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

The First Look Festival focuses on emerging talents and international voices, with the fest premiering 46 works, including 20 features that represent 21 countries. Highlights include Farhad Delaram’s “Achilles,” Graham Swon’s “An Evening Song (for three voices), and the U.S. premiere of Lois Patiño’s “Samsara.” Zhang Mengqi’s “Self-Portrait: 47 KM 2020,” which won the Award of Excellence winner at the 2023 Yamagata Documentary Festival, will also screen along with Shoghakat Vardanyan’s 2023 IDFA grand prize winner “1489,” the debut for the filmmaker. Returning First Look directors like Michaël Andrianaly (“Gwetto”), Midi Z (“The Clinic”), Kevin Jerome Everson (“West Lounge”), and Charlie Shackleton (“Lateral”) will premiere their respective new works.

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The First Look Festival closes with the New York premiere of Bill and Turner Ross’s coming-of-age road movie “Gasoline Rainbow.”

“Now in its 13th year, First Look has carved out a unique, and we think essential, place in New York’s film and cultural landscape,” Eric Hynes, MoMI Curator of Film, said. “For five days in mid-March, MoMI is transformed into a space of active discovery, experimentation, dialogue, and possibility. We’re presenting a slate of films that we love and admire, and we can’t wait to show them to our audiences. We’re also welcoming artists from around the world to gather in Astoria, Queens, to meet and inspire one another with works completed and unfinished. It’s not a coincidence that First Look alums often re-congregate and return to us — they’re a permanent part of our community, and we’re committed to growing a platform that champions adventurous works of cinema.”

The First Look Festival lineup also features collaborations between MoMI and other ventures.

As part of the Museum’s Science on Screen initiative, Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, and Quentin L’helgoualc’h’s documentary made entirely inside a game system, “Knit’s Island,” and Nik Voigt and Mariam Chachia’s “Magic Mountain” will make their New York debuts. The 2023 winners of the Sloan Student Prizes, Justine Beed and Lara Palmqvist will also participate in staged readings of their winning screenplays.

First Look again partners with Polish documentary festival Millennium Docs Against Gravity, welcoming Artistic Director Karol Piekarczyk and two filmmakers from their Warsaw showcase; and will again present student work from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Fiona Tan’s 97-minute video installation “Footsteps” will screen in the Amphitheater Gallery coinciding with the First Look opening night on March 13. “Footsteps” will be on view through June 16, with an opening reception with the artist takes place March 15. Fiona Tan: “Footsteps” is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Concurrent with First Look, MoMI’s Working on It runs March 13 through 15 and offers a laboratory for works in progress and dialogues about process, bringing together festival guests, filmmakers, students, writers, and the general public. Past participants have included Katie Matthews, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, Maya Daisy Hawke and Joe Bini, Emily Vey Duke, and Cooper Battersby. Reverse Shot editors and writers will continue discussions begun in last year’s Emerging Critics Workshop throughout the festival. Schedule and filmmakers appearing in person will be announced soon.

First Look 2024 was programmed by Eric Hynes, MoMI Curator of Film & First Look Artistic Director; Edo Choi, Associate Curator of Film & First Look Senior Programmer; and Sonia Epstein, Curator of Science and Technology & First Look Film and Exhibitions Programmer. First Look’s avant-garde films were programmed by Edo Choi and David Schwartz, MoMI Curator at Large. First Look 2024 Presenting Sponsors are Lismore Road and MUBI. With additional support from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism.

See below for the full First Look lineup.

OPENING NIGHT

Sujo

Dirs. Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez. Mexico/U.S./France. 2024, 125 mins. With Juan Jesús Varela, Yadira Perez Esteban, Sandra Lorenzano, Alexis Jassiel Varela, Jairo Hernández Ramírez. After his father is murdered by fellow cartel henchmen, four-year-old Sujo is snuck out of town by women who raise him as their own. As Sujo grows into a young man, he and his friends follow temptation and the lure of easy money back into town, where further tragedy awaits. Unlike most

Press release draft_ First Look 2024.docx

stories set in the milieu of Mexican cartels, Sujo’s arc doesn’t end there. He moves to Mexico City to earn an honest, threadbare living, and begins to audit classes thanks to a sympathetic teacher. But violence still shadows him, and there may be a limit to what he can escape. Rondero and Valadez’s follow-up to their critically acclaimed Identifying Features has the time-spanning breadth of an epic and multifaceted cinematic chops to match. It also has an extraordinary fidelity to the lived moment, unfurling via a series of you-are-there long takes that assert Sujo’s humanity regardless of the traps ensnaring him. Sujo is a major work by two of the finest young filmmakers of their generation. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize, World Dramatic Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. New York premiere

CLOSING NIGHT

Gasoline Rainbow

Dirs. Bill and Turner Ross. U.S. 2023, 110 mins. With Tony Aburto, Micah Bunch, Nichole Dukes, Nathaly Garcia, Makai Garza. On the precipice of early adulthood, five recent high-school graduates escape small-town Oregon for one last adventure together, trekking 500 miles westward for their first visit to the Pacific coast. From a busted old van to a cargo train, hitched rides to a party boat, they span the wild country and befriend a host of fellow travelers. The latest film from Bill and Turner Ross (Contemporary Color; Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets) is another joyous exploration (and detonation) of the borderlands of reality, mythology, narrative, improvisation, the discernable, and the ineffable. It’s a timeless tale yet a precise record of its moment, with its five protagonists treading a classic American pathway as only they can—in the vernacular of their own time and town, and with an extraordinary sense of openness and inclusion. Few films have this much buoyancy, this much forward momentum (the Rosses’ typically delicious cinematography whizzes by, no need to gape), haunted by the knowledge that a comedown —the rest of life — awaits. New York premiere

SHOWCASE SCREENING

The Echo (El Eco)

Dir. Tatiana Huezo. Mexico/Germany. 2023, 102 mins. Epic and intimate, mythological and quotidian, The Echo (El Eco) deftly combines Mexican-Salvadoran auteur Tatiana Huezo’s aptitude for both fiction (Prayers for the Stolen) and nonfiction (Tempestad) in one uncategorizable, absorbing cinematic experience. Such hybridity suits the film’s characters: young women in the remote Mexican town of El Echo who exude vivacious optimism while shouldering disproportionately gendered responsibilities of family, farm life, and town. Huezo familiarized herself with the community over a four-year period before embarking on a year-and-a-half shoot that overflows with seasonal spectacle, emotional peaks and valleys, and vigorous, tactile existence. Documentary Award, 2023 Berlin International Film Festival. Best Documentary Award, 2023 Morelia International Film Festival. New York premiere

Co-presented by Cinema Tropical, as part of the ongoing series Las Premieres

SHOWCASE SCREENING

Tendaberry

Dir. Haley Elizabeth Anderson. U.S. 2023, 115 mins. With Kota Johan, Yuri Pleskun. This rapturous, dazzlingly unconventional debut by Haley Elizabeth Anderson dives deep into the life, mind, and spirit of Dakota (Johan), a twentysomething Dominican American woman finding her footing in South Brooklyn. Dakota falls fast in love with Yuri (Pleskun), an adoring Ukrainian boy in Coney Island, but their idyll is disrupted when a family sickness sends him back home—a trip that continues indefinitely when war comes to Ukraine. What follow are days, nights, weeks, and seasons of wage labor, street encounters, misbehavior and loneliness, and the constancy of change, a theme underscored by a narrative that shifts, zigs, and zags, even incorporates archival footage made by

Press release draft_ First Look 2024.docx

artist Nelson Sullivan documenting New York’s queer and nightlife scenes of the 1980s. Anderson’s understanding of young adulthood in the big city is intimate and wise, as is her incantation of the Brooklyn of street corners, subway stops, dive bars, grimy apartments, and the bruised beauty of Coney Island. New York premiere

SHOWCASE SCREENING

The Featherweight

Dir. Robert Kolodny. U.S. 2023, 99 mins. With James Madio, Ruby Wolf, Keir Gilchrist, Ron Livingston, Stephen Lang, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Shari Albert, Imma Aiello. The pride of Hartford, Connecticut, featherweight boxer Willie Pep (Madio) was the winningest fighter of all time, prevailing in 229 of 241 bouts. But by the mid-1960s, the fortysomething Pep’s star has dimmed. He’s running low on money and prospects, and his young wife, an aspiring actress (Wolf), has grown restless. Despite his advanced age and the protestations of his longtime trainer (Lang), Pep decides to return to the ring—and let a documentary crew chronicle his journey. Robert Kolodny’s debut feature assumes the perspective of that documentary, which, though it’s a fictional conceit within the otherwise factually based story of Pep, is doggedly realized as if it were an actual archival document. Imagine a lost feature by the Maysles Brothers or Ricky Leacock, filmed right when they might have consorted with a colorful and tragic character like Pep, and you’ve got The Featherweight, a film that’s jaw-droppingly uncanny, while also packing an emotional wallop thanks to a career-defining performance by character actor Madio. New York City premiere

1489

Dir. Shoghakat Vardanyan. Armenia. 2023, 76 mins. Picking up a camera to document her family’s attempts at locating her brother after he goes missing in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Shoghakat Vardanyan films things we don’t often see: the struggles, emotions, and Kafkaesque runarounds when missing soldiers and their families are reduced to a statistic. New York premiere

Achilles

Dir. Farhad Delaram. France, Germany, Iran. 2023, 116 mins. With Mirsaeed Molavian, Behdokht Valian, Hedieh Saghari, Roya Afshar, Neda Aghighi, Firouz Agheli. In Farhad Delaram’s seductive, shape-shifting debut feature, former filmmaker Farid works nights at a Tehran hospital—and sleeps there most days too. Estranged from his partner and hopeless about the future, he starts to awaken after meeting a patient in the psychiatric ward whose supposed fits of madness he innately understands. New York premiere

Arthur&Diana

Dir. Sara Summa. Germany. 2023, 108 mins. With Sara Summa, Robin Summa, Lupo Piero Summa. In this form-blending, refreshing work of autofiction, siblings Arthur and Diana are on a meandering road trip through France, Germany, and Italy that brings out deep-seated family dynamics that will feel familiar to older sisters and younger brothers. U.S. premiere

Screens with “A Running Woman.” Dir. Ojoboca (Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy). Germany, 3 mins. 16mm. International premiere

Behind Closed Doors

Dir. João Pedro Bim. Brazil. 2023, 66 mins. In 1968, Brazil’s military dictatorship enacted Institutional Act No. 5, which suspended the constitution, silenced citizens, and opted overtly into totalitarianism. This astonishing and ingenious film features archival audio documents of the meeting that decided this act, combined with blithe moving image propaganda perpetuated by the government. New York premiere. Presented as part of MoMI’s ongoing series New Adventures in Nonfiction

The Clinic

Dir. Midi Z. Taiwan/Myanmar. 2023, 87 mins. In Burmese with English subtitles. In Yangon, Myanmar, a couple, Aung Min and San San Oo, operates a neighborhood clinic, providing low-cost treatments and therapies for a range of physical and psychological maladies. They also make art—paintings and films—as revealed in this shapeshifting film that starts as direct cinema then blossoms into a self-reflexive examination of the Burmese soul. North American premiere Presented as part of MoMI’s ongoing series New Adventures in Nonfiction

An Evening Song (for three voices)

Dir. Graham Swon. U.S. 2023, 86 mins. With Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Peter Vack. Swon’s sophomore feature displays a remarkable devotion to craft, combining elements of Gothic horror, pulp mystery, and period romance to tell the 1939-set tale of a married couple, new to the rural Midwest, who become enamored of their pious housekeeper. New York premiere

Flying Lessons

Dir. Elizabeth Nichols. U.S. 2024, 84 mins. With Philly Abe. An older punk artist named Philly Abe becomes muse, attentive neighbor, and friend to the younger filmmaker Elizabeth Nichols in this portrait that surfaces Philly’s life story through extraordinarily candid conversations as well as a gloriously SD video archive of concert footage and decades of DIY downtown New York films. New York premiere

Screens with “This Is for Jonas Mekas.” Dir. Friedl vom Gröller. Austria/U.S. 2023, 3 mins. 16mm. U.S. premiere

Gwetto

Dir. Michaël Andrianaly. Madagascar. 2023, 52 mins. In Andrianaly’s precise observational film, four undocumented workers from across the country endure their lot at a neighborhood car wash until they can earn enough to secure their identity papers and seek a better future.New York Premiere

Screens with “Hazel (dual).” Dir. Kevin Jerome Everson. U.S. 2023, 12 mins. In Everson’s mesmerizing black-and-white diptych, actor-musician Ricky Goldman incarnates Eddie Hazel, the virtuoso lead guitarist of George Clinton’s Funkadelic. New York premiere

EXPERIMENTAL SHORTS PROGRAM:

Illuminations: Elsewhere/Here

Playful, elusive, and tactile, these eclectic works are unified by their filmmakers’ attempts to orient themselves in a world of constant, turbulent flux. Part One offers encounters with places occupied by ghosts, while Part Two explores realms of domestic and urban anxiety.

Part One: Elsewhere
“Here & Elsewhere”
Bram Ruiter. Netherlands. 2023, 11 mins. North American premiere
It follows it passes on.” Erica Sheu. U.S./Taiwan. 2023, 5 mins. New York City premiere
West Lounge” Kevin Jerome Everson. U.S. 2023, 5 mins. North American premiere
“Banging on Their Bars in Rhythm.” Kevin Jerome Everson. U.S. 2024, 11 mins. World premiere Stone, “Hat, Ribbon & Rose“. Eva Giolo. Belgium. 2023, 16 mins. North American premiere

How to Run a Trotline“. Carl Elsaesser. U.S. 2024, 18 mins. World premiere

Caracole (for Mac)“. Nathaniel Dorsky. U.S. 2022. 7 mins. North American premiere


Part Two: Here
“Seasonal Concerns
.” Maximilien Luc Proctor. Germany. 2024, 3 mins. North American premiere Five “Days Till Tomorrow“. Lewis Klahr. U.S. 2022, 12 mins. World premiere
“Holographic Will
“. Mike Stoltz. U.S. 2023, 5 mins. New York premiere
“Hey Sweet Pea
“. Alee Peoples. U.S. 2023, 11 mins. North American premiere
“Labores en curso
“. Bruno Delgado Ramo. Spain/Belgium. 2024, 29 mins. World premiere

Single File.” Simon Liu. U.S./Hong Kong/Italy. 2023, 10 mins. New York premiere

SCIENCE ON SCREEN PRESENTS:

Knit’s Island

Dir. Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, and Quentin L’helgoualc’h. France. 2023, 95 mins. The filmmakers drop into the fictional landscape of the videogame DayZ as journalistic avatars and must battle a zombie apocalypse while endeavoring to stay alive long enough to film their interactions with the surprising community of people who spend their time in this VR world. New York premiere

Screens with “I Would Like to Rage.” Dir. Chloé Gailbert-Laîné. 2023, 12 mins. New York City premiere

Limitation

Dir. Elene Asatiani, Soso Dumbadze. Georgia. 2023, 125 mins. In Georgian with English subtitles. Georgian filmmakers Elene Asatiani and Soso Dumbadze construct an archival horror film about 1991’s bloody military coup d’état against the government of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgia’s first democratically elected president, forgoing contextual titles, narration, or interviews. North American premiere

Screens with “Threat Assessment“. Dir. Todd Chandler. U.S. 5 mins. Festival premiere

SCIENCE ON SCREEN PRESENTS:

Magic Mountain

Dir. Mariam Chachia, Nik Voigt. Georgia/Poland. 2023, 75 mins. In the spectacular mountains of southwest Georgia sits the Abastumani sanatorium, a treatment hospital for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, which becomes a site of fantasies and nightmares, a home of the living and the dead, in this reflection of a place and moment. New York premiere

Mimang

Dir. Kim Taeyang. South Korea. 2023, 92 mins. With Lee Myungha, Ha Seongguk, Park Bongjun, Baek Seungjin, Jung Suji. In Kim Taeyang’s richly cryptic debut feature, a young man and woman, unnamed former acquaintances, meet by chance in the historic Jongno district at the heart of Seoul, then walk and talk, visiting and revisiting Jongno’s landmarks, haunts, and byways as the years go by, much of the city and them changing beyond recognition. New York premiere

Screens with “The Perfect Square.” Dir. Gernot Wieland. Germany/Belgium. 2024, 8 mins. DCP. North American premiere

Samsara

Dir. Lois Patiño. Spain. 2023, 113 mins. Lois Patiño’s latest inquiry into the spiritual valences of cinema travels first to the temples of Laos and then to the shores of Tanzania by way of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the two chapters joined by a sensory passageway of inchoate sound and vision that has a genuinely purifying effect. U.S. premiere


Screens with “Print Analysis (2 B).” Dir. Ojoboca (Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy). Germany, 1.5 mins. 16mm. World premiere

Self-Portrait: 47 KM 2020

Dir. Zhang Mengqi. China. 2023, 190 mins. Over the past thirteen years, Zhang has documented her father’s village in Hubei, China, as a repository of ancestral memory; for the tenth of these films, Zhang installed herself permanently in the village upon the outbreak of COVID-19. The result is an immense accomplishment, vividly depicting a year in the life of a stoic rural community, far removed from an urban-centered pandemic. North American premiere

Solaris Mon Amour

Dir. Kuba Mikurda. Poland. 2023, 47 mins. The same year that Alain Resnais’s masterpiece Hiroshima mon amour was released, science fiction writer and theorist Stanisław Lem began writing his influential novel Solaris, an artistic confluence that inspires this wholly original and emotionally resonant found footage film. North American premiere


Screens with “Handful of Dirt.” Dir. Izabela Zubrycka. 2023, 13 mins. Poland. North American premiere
Co-presented by Millennium Docs Against Gravity

What Did You Dream Last Night, Parajanov?

Dir. Faraz Fesharaki. Germany/Iran. 2024, 80 mins. This poignant, warts-and-all portrait of a family separated by space but still profoundly connected in each other’s hearts, minds, and dreams is composed almost entirely of webcam footage from Skype calls between the Berlin-based, Iranian émigré filmmaker, his parents, and his friend. International premiere

FIRST LOOK IN THE MUSEUM GALLERIES:

Fiona Tan: Footsteps
March 13–June 16, 2024 Location: Amphitheater Gallery

Composed of cinema from the earliest decades of the medium found in the Eye Filmmuseum’s archive in Amsterdam, this 97-minute video installation captures the Netherlands at the birth of cinema. Paired with narration written by artist Fiona Tan’s father in the late 1980s, this video work creates a dialogue between history, the artist’s past, and our present.

Fiona Tan (born in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, lives and works in Amsterdam) is a visual artist and filmmaker best known for her video and film installations exploring memory, identity, and the role of visual images. Organized by Sonia Epstein, Curator of Science & Technology
This exhibition is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

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