Audiences are invited to join Princeton University students to screen recent independent films and meet the filmmakers as part of the Visual Arts Program course “World on a Wire: 12 Films, 12 Filmmakers.” One or two films are being screened each Thursday evening continuing through the end of April. All the films have been produced within the last 18 months and each of the filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work and answer questions from the audience.
Films to be screened in March include The Forbidden Room by Guy Maddin on March 3; Minotaur and The Palace by Nicolás Pereda on March 10; Bad at Dancing and i hate myself 🙂 by Joanna Arnow on March 24; and Field Niggas by Khalik Allah on March 31. Each screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the film’s director. The screenings will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street and are free and open to the public.
Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room encompasses a series of nested stories about, among other characters, a submarine crew, a feared pack of forest bandits, a famous surgeon, and a battalion of child soldiers who all get more than they bargained for as they wend their way toward progressive ideas on life and love. What the writers of Cinema Scope termed as an “inventive, audacious, and outright hilarious tour de force whatzit” was released in 2015 to critical acclaim.
In Minotaur, a short film by Mexican director Nicolás Pereda, three people spend a peaceful and languorous day in their Mexico City apartment sleeping, reading and receiving guests. The Palace falls somewhere between a documentary and a short narrative following five women as they train to become domestic workers for the Mexican elite, confronting viewers with topics of class, gender, and power. Pereda’s previous work has been awarded the Premio Orizzonti at the Venice Film Festival in 2010 among other honors, and he won the Jay Scott Prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2012.
i hate myself 🙂 is a documentary by Joanna Arnow chronicling a year in the filmmaker’s relationship with her “poet-provocateur” ex-boyfriend as she explores questions of relationships, gender and sexuality. Bad at Dancing, the tale of a young woman, her boyfriend, and the roommate who keeps interrupting their intimacy, won the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.
Khalik Allah’s debut documentary Field Niggas focuses on the corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in Harlem and the community of people who populate it at night—the addicts, the homeless, the marginalized and forgotten urban poor. Vice called it a “stunning debut film”; the Hollywood Reporter praised its “near-hallucinatory intensity.”
The filmmakers and films were selected by Princeton Arts Fellow and faculty member Pacho Velez, who is teaching the course. Velez is a filmmaker who works at the intersection of ethnography, contemporary art, and political documentary. His current project, The Reagan Years, explores a prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. Velez’s previous film, Manakamana, screened at Princeton last October and won a Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival. It played around the world, including at the Whitney Biennial and the Toronto International Film Festival. His earlier film and theater work have been presented at venues such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, and on Japanese National Television.
The course makes use of recent works by twelve engaging contemporary filmmakers to come to a deeper understanding of current film culture. Class discussions center on the issues preoccupying filmmakers today, the most fertile grounds for new cinematic work, and the process of navigating funding and distribution in the making of a film.
Other filmmakers scheduled in April include Roger Ross Williams, Hassen Ferhani, Kirsten Johnson, and Deborah Stratman.