The third edition of the New York Documentary Film Festival – Festival dei Popoli (May 26-30, 2010) at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003) is part of an ongoing project of the Festival dei Popoli. Based in Florence, Italy, it is the oldest International Documentary Film Festivalin Europe. It aims to broaden the audience for its rich collection of archival footage, as well as Italian documentaries in general. Founded in 1959, the FESTIVAL DEI POPOLI is devoted to promoting and studying social documentary cinema. In fifty years, the collection has grown into an unparalleled treasure of documentary films covering the history of non-fiction filmmaking.
The festival will open on May 26 with a tribute to the award-winning Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi with the US-Premiere of Below Sea Level. The film isanintimate portrait of a commune of outcasts living in the middle of the desertabout 200 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The multi-awarded documentaryreceived, among the others, the Venice Horizons Documentary Prize. The film is presented in the presence of the director.
The five-days event will features four programs of auteur documentaries, with a total of eighteen films depicting reality and history as filtered through the deeply personal aesthetics of very different directors.
RETROSPECTIVE – THE FEELING OF BEING THERE (1958 – 1965): SEVEN YEARS OF DOCUMENTARY CINEMA
A journey through the creative forces that have left their mark on the face of modern documentary cinema, with eleven short documentaries by legendary filmmakers like Robert Frank, D. A. Pennebacker, John Schlesinger, Ivars Kraulîtis, Joyce Chopra, Richard Leacock, Joris Ivens, Agnès Varda, Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx, Cecilia Mangini and Sandro Franchina that have changed documentary film history in a period of great creative fervor corresponding to the birth of the Festival dei Popoli. The program is part of the retrospective presented in Florence at the last edition of the FESTIVAL DEI POPOLI. The program on Friday May 28 is presented by PGA – Producers Guild of America.
TRIBUTE TO GIANFRANCO ROSI – Opening night film May 26, 6.30 pm Below Sea Level by Gianfranco Rosi, 110′, Italy 2008, with the director.
ITALIAN CHRONICLES – FOCUS on ALESSANDRO ROSSETTO
Alessandro Rossetto is one of the authors that best captured a panorama of everyday life in Italy through the last fifteen years. Screening of Friday May 28th is presented and introduced by PGA – Producers Guild of America, in the presence of the filmmaker.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION IN COLLABORATION WITH NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM AND TELEVISION – ENRICA COLUSSO
In collaboration with New York Women in Film & Television, the festival will present two works of the award-winning Italian filmmaker Enrica Colusso: Life After Life (1995) and ABC Colombia (2006). Erica Colusso will attend the festival.
Wednesday, May 26
6.30 pm Opening Night – (Tribute to Gianfranco Rosi) Below Sea Level, by Gianfranco Rosi, Italy, 2008, 110′) in the presence of the director. “Slab City” is on first sight little more than a collection of junked cars, corrugated steel sheds and handmade huts in an arid wasteland, 190 miles from downtown Los Angeles, but the abandoned Marine Corps training camp is home to a small band of youthful bohemians, self-styled outsiders and seasonal drifters. Rosi and his camera crew spent two years documenting life in Slab City. Below Sea Level was honored as “Best Documentary” at the 2008 Venice Film Festival.
Thursday, May 27
4.30pm Round Table with Gianfranco Rosi, Alessandro Rossetto and Erica Colusso, moderated by Tanja Meding – Calandra Institute, 25W. 43rd Street, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10036
6.30pm (Italian Chronicles) Bibione Bye Bye One, by Alessandro Rossetto (Italy/Germany, 1999, 75’) in the presence of the director. Bibione on the Adriatic Sea, 60 miles north of Venice. A black-and-white journey between characters and situations, in full unprecedented emersion.
8.30pm NYWIFT – New York Women in Film and Television presents:
ABC Colombia, by Enrica Colusso (Italy/France, 2006, 88′) in the presence of the director. ABC Colombia is an intimate portrait of a small rural community in a part of Colombia entirely controlled by paramilitary forces, rendered through the eyes of hte children who grow up there, and are often forced into very difficult choices.
Friday, May 28
6.30 pm PGA – Producers Guild of America presents:
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) A Happy Mother’s Day, by Joyce Chopra, Richard Leacock (USA, 1965, 26’) On September 14th, 1963, Mary Ann Fischer gave birth to magnificent quintuplets. The happy news immediately breaches the quiet borders of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and attracts the attention of the media, transforming their birth into a national story. Today, this film is still a prescient example of an America that is dogged by the deleterious effects of unfettered media coverage.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) Pull My Daisy, by Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie (USA, 1959, 30’). In a New York apartment, a group of poets, musicians and artists hang out, talk,dance, improvise poetry and scenes, and throw a dinner party with a bishop and his family. The film is structured to the free and wild rhythms of jazz. Based on a piece by Jack Kerouac, its editing breaks conventions and tunes into the improvisation of open music, even if foreseen and organized by the director. A manifesto of the Beat Generation and
New American Cinema.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) Terminus, by John Schlesinger (UK, 1961, 33’). Twenty-four hours in the Waterloo train station in London. A symphony of footsteps, faces, expressions and voices in the rhythm of jazz. A careful study of the reality, the originality of the setting and a taste for improvisation raise timeless freshness to one of the most famous English short film of the Sixties.
8.30 pm PGA – Producers Guild of America presents:
(Italian Chronicles) Feltrinelli, by Alessandro Rossetto (Italy/Switzerland/Germany/France, 2006, 81’) in the presence of the director. The film tells the story of a great Italian publishing house «La Feltrinelli», about books and the work and passion that goes into their making, development and circulation. It’s a story that delves into the discovery of literature and into a world that has been changed by books.
Saturday, May 29
6.30 pm NYWIFT – New York Women in Film and Television presents:
Life After Life, by Enrica Colusso (Italy, 1995, 93’) in the presence of the director. The film explores the extreme experience of life of four inmates sentenced to life imprisonment on the island Prison of Porto Azzuro (Italy). Shot during Christmas and the first weeks of 1994, the documentary focuses on the everyday reality and he interior lives of people caught between a timeless existence and the routine of a total institution.
8.30 pm (Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) Lambert & Co., by DA Pennebaker (USA, 15’) One morning in 1964 Dave Lambert arrives by taxi at RCA Studios to rehearse with his new quintet, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Pennebaker’s camerawork weaves fluidly inside the recording studio, observing musicians and opera singers, capturing gestures, faces, glances, filming the music and emotional flow that animates the group.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Beeing There) The Snowshoers, by Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx (Canada, 1958, 19’) In 1958, during an annual meeting of «snowshoers», Michel Brault films what was supposed to be a four minute news report for a television magazine. The film, which for the first time used synchronized sound and a wide-angle lens, let him showing people in crowds demonstrating with evident freshness the rituals, chats, and pleasures of the gathering. The Snowshoers is the film that went on to shape Direct Cinema.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) La canta delle marane, by Cecilia Mangini (Italy, 1961, 10’) On a hot summer day, a group of children from the Roman outskirts joke and play around in one of the city’s many canals. The camera scrutinizes them, gets close to them, shows their gestures and expressions, and sweeps them up in a visual dance while the commentary (thanks to the poetic sensibility of Pier Paolo Pasolini) tells their stories, hopes, dreams, and future.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There)… A Valparaiso, by Joris Ivens (Chile/France, 1962, 28’) Built on a series of steep hills dividing the bourgeois neighborhoods near the sea from the working-class areas in the outskirts of the port city of Valparaiso, there is a theatre for human toil, hardship and the feverish will to live despite everything. Depicting the verticality of the city, its bizarre architectonic peculiarities and the routine of daily life, stigmatizing its social divisions.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) Salut les Cubains, by Agnès Varda (France/Cuba, 1963, 30’) From 1962 to 1963, Agnès Varda traveled to Cuba and took hundreds of photographs. Her subjects were common people, as well as artists, poets, musicians, officials of the party in power. Later, she realized this film with a sense of montage in which music and audio commentary transform the photos into rames, and carry them into a vortex of idealism and fervor. The result is a small film set to a Cha-cha-cha rhythm and full of contagious energy.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) The White Bells, by Ivars Kraulîtis (Latvia, 1961,20’) A small child is crossing the heart of the city looking for a bunch of flowers. Produced as a feature film, The White Bells brilliantly documents the fast-growing Riga of the 1960s, while also reservedly showing the daily rush of its inhabitants. An excellent example of poetic cinema.
Sunday, May 30
6.30 pm (Italian Chronicles) Closing Down, by Alessandro Rossetto (Italy/Germany/Finland/UK, 2001, 75’) in the presence of the director. Flavia has been a hairdresser in Padua for 40 years. Many of her clientele have grown old with the business, but it’s time to shut up shop and retire.
8.30 pm (Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) La casa delle vedove, by Gian Vittorio Baldi (Italy, 1960, 13′). In a run-down four-storey house in the heart of the old city, thirteen women live on modest means, beset by the ailments of old age and memories of the past. Baldi probes this corner of the world with acute perception, sensitively bringing out the women’s different characters. The film won the Golden Lion for Best Short Film at the 21st Venice Film Festival.
(Retrospective: The Feeling of Being There) Collage di Piazza del Popolo by Sandro Franchina (Italy, 1960, 12’). A curious eye casts around Rome’s Piazza del Popolo. A film that is also an electrifying journey on the hunt for faces, bodies, expressions and gestures of pedestrians in one of the most famous piazzas of the capital, with continuous turns and improvised leaps through both common and exceptional situations.
(Italian Chronicles) Fire of Naples, by Alessandro Rossetto (Italy, 1996, 58’) in the presence of the director. Fire of Naples outlines the story of a man named Giuseppe Scudo and his passion for fireworks. His art and his life blend as one. This Neapolitan firework- maker challenges danger with clear-headedness and intelligence. His work is a delicate equation of ancient knowledge, imagination and courage.
For more information, please visit: www.nydff.org