2017 BAMcinemaFest: lineup and tickets
The 2017 edition of BAMcinemaFest happens June 14 - 25. This year's lineup includes: Kumail Nanjiani's acclaimed The Big Sick (which he wrote and stars in); David Lowery's A Ghost Story starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara; Gillian Robespierre reteams with her Obvious Child star Jenny Slate for Landline that also features John Turturro and Edie Falco; Zoe Kravitz and Lola Kirke in new thriller Gemini from director Aaron Katz (Cold Weather); Emily Browning in Golden Exits from director Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth); John Hamm and Geena Davis in Marjorie Prime from indie vet Michael Almereyda; and lots more.
Tickets for BAMcinemaFest go on sale May 11 at 10 AM for BAMcinématek members and patrons, and to the general public on May 18 at 10 AM. Full lineup, film descriptions and a few trailers for this year's slate, are below.
2017 BAMcinemaFest Schedule
HT = Steinberg Screen at the BAM Harvey Theater BRC = BAM Rose Cinemas BKBP = Brooklyn Bridge Park
Wed, Jun 14
7:30pm: Opening Night—Gemini (HT)
Thu, Jun 15
7pm: The Force (BRC)
9:30pm: Signature Move (BRC)
Fri, Jun 16
7pm: The Incredible Jessica James (BRC)
9:45pm: The Strange Ones (BRC)
Sat, Jun 17
1:30pm: Princess Cyd (BRC)
4:15pm: Columbus (BRC)
7pm: Where is Kyra? (BRC)
7:30pm: Spotlight—Landline (HT)
9:45pm: Bitch (BRC)
Sun, Jun 18
1:30pm: Dina (BRC)
4:15pm: Wind River (BRC)
5:30pm: Centerpiece—En el Séptimo Día (HT)
7pm: I Am Another You (BRC)
9:30pm: Dear Renzo + Educators + Men + All Good Things (BRC)
Mon, Jun 19
7pm: Whose Streets? (BRC)
9:45pm: Snowy Bing Bongs + Hardware + Lance Lizardi (BRC)
Tue, Jun 20
7pm: Common Carrier (BRC)
9:30pm: Walking Out (BRC)
Wed, Jun 21
6:45pm: Big Sick (BRC)
9:45pm: Most Beautiful Island + Innards (BRC)
Thu, Jun 22
7:30pm: Spotlight—A Ghost Story (HT)
7pm: Marjorie Prime (BRC) Sundown: Free Outdoor Screening—Our Song (BKBP)
Fri, Jun 23
7pm: Ingrid Goes West + Harvest (BRC)
9:45pm: Lemon (BRC) Sat, Jun 242pm: Escapes (BRC)
4:45pm: The Work + Have No Fear (BRC)
7:30pm: Closing Night—Golden Exits (HT)
2017 BAMcinemaFest Film Descriptions
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) NY Premiere Narrative
Comedian and Silicon Valley scene-stealer Kumail Nanjiani scores a brilliant big screen breakthrough as the co-writer (with Emily V. Gordon) and star of this hilarious and poignant romantic comedy based on his own life. When struggling Chicago standup Kumail (Nanjiani) meets grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) they quickly spark. At first their romance seems threatened by his fear of disappointing his traditional Pakistani parents who want nothing more than for their son to settle down with a nice Muslim girl. But when fate throws the young couple a life-or-death curve ball, Kumail is forced to do some serious growing up. Working with director Michael Showalter and producers Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel. Nanjiani brings a fresh and personal perspective to this cross-cultural love story. An Amazon Studios/Lions Gate Films release.
Bitch (Marianna Palka) NY Premiere Narrative
A suburban family goes to the dogs—literally—in this savage feminist satire. Unappreciated by her four bratty kids and treated like garbage by her chauvinist husband Bill (Jason Ritter), tormented housewife Jill (Marianna Palka) has an epic breakdown from which she emerges as a snarling, feral canine. With mommy now under the delusion that she is a wild dog, all order breaks down and Bill is forced to either confront his toxic behavior or watch his family unravel. Blending pitch-black comedy with subversive social commentary, Bitch is a daring, provocative domestic horror show.
Columbus (Kogonada) NY Premiere Narrative
When his architecture expert father falls into a coma during a visit to Columbus, Indiana—a small Midwest city renowned for modernist wonders designed by the likes of Eero Saarinen and I. M. Pei—expat Jin (John Cho) flies in from Korea to be with him. He forms an unlikely friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a bright young local who’s dealing with another kind of sick parent, and the two find themselves opening up to one another in surprising ways. Making brilliant use of the emotional possibilities of architectural space, this formally exquisite debut by director-to-watch Kogonada is a mesmerizing work that’s at once intellectually rigorous and warmly human.
Common Carrier (James N. Kienitz Wilkins) North American Premiere Documentary
The quotidian dramas of various New York artists hover and collide in a digital haze in this experimental documentary from rising art star James N. Kienitz Wilkins. Through a dense layering of sound and images—every shot is a superimposition and omnipresent radio broadcasts from WNYC and Hot 97 drift in and out—Common Carrier creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of a screenwriter, an actor, an urban shaman, and the director himself, all contending with everyday annoyances like broken appliances, FedEx frustrations, and a sick parrot as they struggle to fulfill their creative tasks. The result is a heady, slyly witty look at the work of being an artist.
Dina (Dan Sickles & Antonio Santini) NY Premiere Documentary
Dina is an irrepressible, 49-year-old suburban Philadelphia resident who, despite an array of mental disabilities, has largely managed to live life on her own offbeat terms. Scott is a Walmart greeter whose Asperger’s makes human connection a challenge. This touching, truly one-of-a-kind love story—which won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance—follows the pair as they move in together, prepare to get married, and navigate the issues that intimacy poses for each of them. Propelled by its heroine’s infectious optimism, Dina is a deeply affecting look at two people taking on life’s obstacles in order to find their happy ending. The Orchard Release.
En el Séptimo Día (Jim McKay) World Premiere Narrative
Acclaimed director Jim McKay’s (Our Song, Girls Town) first feature in over a decade is this timely, compassionate, often humorous look at life in New York as an undocumented Mexican immigrant. José works long hours doing bicycle deliveries for a restaurant in Carroll Gardens and then spends his day off on the soccer fields of Sunset Park. When his team makes it to the championship, he and his teammates are thrilled. But Jose’s boss throws a wrench into the celebration when he tells him he has to work on Sunday, the day of the finals. Knowing he’ll be fired if he doesn’t show up for work, Jose is forced
to choose between his job and his loyalty to his team. Shot on the streets of Brooklyn, En el Séptimo Día vividly captures the everyday struggles and camaraderie that binds this community together in a universally relevant story of fortitude and dignity.
Escapes (Michael Almereyda) NY Premiere Documentary
Anyone who has kicked around Hollywood as long as Hampton Fancher is bound to have some good stories, and Michael Almereyda captures them in this wonderfully discursive deep dive into the life and career of an entertainment industry journeyman. Though best known for scripting Blade Runner, Fancher began as an actor in the late 1950s, appearing in numerous B movies, TV westerns, and cop shows throughout the ’60s and ‘70s. Weaving together clips from Fancher’s work with the star’s own colorful
anecdotes, Escapes (with executive producer Wes Anderson) is a retro-fantastic tour through mid-20th century pop culture as related by a singularly engaging raconteur. A Grasshopper release.
The Force (Peter Nicks) NY Premiere Documentary
This gripping documentary takes viewers inside the troubled Oakland Police Department during a period of turmoil and upheaval. Filmed over the course of two years beginning in 2014, director Peter Nicks charts the shake-ups that ensue as an idealistic new police chief attempts to clean up the scandal-plagued department and restore community trust. But a series of police brutality incidents, the rise of Black Lives Matter, and bombshell allegations soon reveal how difficult reform may be. With startling immediacy and a vérité even-handedness worthy of Frederick Wiseman, The Force offers a vital look at the ins and outs, failings and challenges of policing in the 21st century. A Kino Lorber release.
Gemini (Aaron Katz) NY Premiere Narrative
One of the finest independent filmmakers working today, Aaron Katz (Cold Weather, BAMcinemaFest 2010) returns to BAMcinemaFest with this stylishly seductive LA-set murder mystery. Jill (Lola Kirke) is the unflappable personal assistant to Heather (Zoë Kravitz), a volatile Hollywood starlet, whom Jill protects from the unforgiving glare of the media. When Heather is found dead and suspicion falls on Jill, the young assistant embarks on a labyrinthine investigation to uncover the killer and prove her innocence. Bathed in a moody, noir atmosphere, Gemini is both a sleek guessing-game thriller and a canny dissection of image, identity, celebrity, and the city of Los Angeles. A NEON release.
A Ghost Story (David Lowery) NY Premiere Narrative
Director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, BAMcinemaFest 2013) reteams with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in this hypnotic drift through time and eternity. After his sudden death in a car accident, a man (Affleck) returns as a ghost—enrobed in a classic white bed sheet—to the Texas home he shared with his wife (Mara). It’s the beginning of a vigil that stretches through centuries past and present as he bears silent witness to the home’s changing inhabitants and transformations wrought by time. Rendered in spectral, gorgeously gauzy imagery, A Ghost Story grows into a profound and, yes, haunting rumination on mortality, impermanence, and life after death. An A24 release.
Golden Exits (Alex Ross Perry) NY Premiere Narrative
Wunderkind director Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth) returns with another biting comedy of unease built around a dynamic ensemble cast. Lovingly shot in 16mm by cinematographer extraordinaire Sean Price Williams, Golden Exits trains its sights on a bevy of Brooklynites whose innermost insecurities are unleashed by the destabilizing presence of a young Australian woman (Emily Browning). As is his specialty, Perry creates a fully realized micro-universe of compellingly prickly, complex characters in the midst of quiet upheavals.
I Am Another You (Nanfu Wang) NY Premiere Documentary
Nanfu Wang follows up her acclaimed Oscar-shortlisted Hooligan Sparrow with this poignant portrait of a young man lost. While traveling through Florida, the Chinese filmmaker meets Dylan, a handsome, charismatic drifter who has rejected his comfortable, middle-class upbringing to lead a vagabond lifestyle, sleeping on streets, scrounging for food, and living out what he sees as the ultimate freedom from the
bonds of materialism. But as the director digs deeper, Dylan’s rebellion is gradually revealed to be darker and altogether more complex. Unfolding like a low-key mystery, I Am Another You (winner of the Special Jury Prize and Chicken and Egg awards at this year’s SXSW film festival) is an incisive examination of the myth and bitter realities of America’s rugged individualism. A FilmRise release.
The Incredible Jessica James (Jim Strouse) NY Premiere Narrative
Former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams delivers a quick-witted, magnetic, sure-to-be-star-making performance in this romantic charmer about an aspiring Brooklyn playwright waiting for her big break while navigating the fallout of a big breakup. When she meets the nerdy Boone (Chris O’Dowd), who himself is reeling from a recent divorce, it seems like mutual heartbreak is all they have in common. But the unlikely pair soon discover there may be a real spark between them. A Netflix release.
Ingrid Goes West (Matt Spicer) NY Premiere Narrative
Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is a Instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) is a caustically funny journey into the dark side of our obsessively on-brand, Insta-perfect age. A NEON release.
Landline (Gillian Robespierre) NY Premiere Narrative
On the heels of their breakout hit Obvious Child, whirlwind talent Jenny Slate and writer-director Gillian Robespierre once again tackle a thorny subject with contagious irreverence. Landline tracks the splinters that form within a Manhattan family when sisters Dana (Jenny Slate) and Ali (Abby Quinn) discover that their father (John Turturro) is cheating on their mother (Edie Falco), as they themselves give in to their own taboo temptations. Set amid the retro-wonderland of the 1990s with period-perfect detail—from stone-age Macintosh desktops to stonewashed jeans—this brash comedy is counterbalanced with deeply felt observations on family, relationships, and commitment. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Lemon (Janicza Bravo) NY Premiere Narrative
Destined to be the most audacious feature debut of the year, Janicza Bravo’s brilliantly bizarro, black-as-the-void comedy is as unnerving as it is subversively funny. It follows the singularly strange travails of Isaac (Brett Gelman), a neurotic (to put it mildly), failed actor whose life goes into freefall when his blind girlfriend (Judy Greer) walks out on him. Along the way he directs an unhinged staging of Chekhov’s The Seagull, attends the Passover Seder from hell (culminating in a weirdly catchy sing-along about matzo balls), and attempts to woo a new flame (Nia Long). With its startlingly stylized visuals, off-the-wall musical cues, and head-spinningly absurdist humor, Lemon has the earmarks of a cult classic in the making. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda) NY Premiere Narrative
If you had the chance to remember your life differently, would you? In a not-too-far-off future, octogenarian widow Marjorie (Lois Smith) reconnects with her deceased husband. Or, rather, with an artificial intelligence hologram of his younger self (played by Jon Hamm) who feeds off the information he gleans through conversations with her. It’s an opportunity for Marjorie not only to relive her past, but to reshape it, bringing comfort to the old woman but raising troubling issues for her daughter (Geena Davis). Driven by virtuoso performances from its powerhouse cast, the new film from the restlessly adventurous Michael Almereyda poses provocative questions about love, technology, memory, and mortality.
Most Beautiful Island (Ana Asencio) NY Premiere Narrative
The directorial debut from Ana Asensio, winner of the Narrative Grand Jury Prize at South by Southwest, is a gritty, nerve-shredding thriller that plumbs the dark flipside of the American dream. Luciana (played by Asensio herself) is an undocumented Spanish woman living in the shadows of New York City as she struggles to get by on demeaning odd jobs. When she’s offered a chance to make what seems like an easy $2,000, she jumps at the opportunity. But the money, she soon finds, comes with a sadistic catch. Inspired by the director’s own experiences overstaying her visa, Most Beautiful Island combines twisted genre thrills with a sobering depiction of life on the margins.
Our Song (McKay, 2000), Narrative
Over the course of a sweltering summer in Crown Heights, best friends Lanisha (Kerry Washington, in her film debut), Maria (Melissa Martinez), and Joycelyn (Anna Simpson) navigate a host of teenage anxieties— the closing of their high school, unplanned pregnancy, and tumultuous family lives—all between rehearsals with the legendary Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band (who punctuates the movie with rousing performances). Jim McKay’s (En el Séptimo Día) refreshingly honest, nuanced depiction of female friendship captures the growing pains of adolescence, as well as the sights, sounds, and feelings of Brooklyn summer. An IFC Films release
Princess Cyd (Stephen Cone) NY Premiere Narrative
Nine years after a traumatic childhood incident, brash 16-year-old Cyd (Jessie Pinnick) heads to Chicago to spend the summer with her aunt (Rebecca Spence). Spending languorous, sunny days at the beach and barbecues, Cyd develops a budding relationship with the androgynous Katie (Malic White) while grappling with issues of sexuality and spirituality. Featuring naturalistic performances and moments of unexpected lyricism, this new film by Stephen Cone (Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, BAMcinemaFest 2015) is a portrait of a young woman testing the waters of the real world for the first time.
Signature Move (Jennifer Reeder) NY Premiere Narrative
Pakistani-American lawyer Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza) juggles a demanding job, a budding romance with Latina bookstore owner Alma (Sari Sanchez), and a newfound hobby: lucha libre wrestling. On top of all that, she’s adapting to living with her recently widowed, traditionalist Muslim mother (Indian superstar Shabana Azmi), to whom she’s not out of the closet. As Zaynab’s relationship with Alma grows more serious, she’s forced to reconcile her love for her girlfriend with her love for her mother. Set against the multicultural mosaic of Chicago’s immigrant communities, Signature Move is a tender, vividly realized look at falling in love from the perspective of queer women of color.
Snowy Bing Bongs (Alex H. Fischer and Rachel Wolther) World Premiere, Narrative
This blissfully bonkers whatzit from unclassifiable dance-comedy trio Cocoon Central Dance Team is part psychotropic performance art spectacle, part absurdist sketch show. The three Bing Bongs—Tallie Medel, Sunita Mani & Eleanor Pienta—lounge about, pass gas, and periodically break into wondrously strange dance routines, with outer space interludes, a serious consideration of doctor boners, and a ‘90s-style girl group meltdown along the way. It all plays like a live action cartoon piped in from a cotton-candy-colored alternate universe.
The Strange Ones (Lauren Wolkstein & Christopher Radcliff) NY Premiere NarrativeFollowing a violent incident, two young men (Alex Pettyfer & James Freedson-Jackson) go on the run through a desolate rural landscape. As relationships, identities, and realities shift in unexpected ways, tensions mount, creating an atmosphere rife with unease. This masterful feature debut by Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff, hauntingly lensed to emphasize both the majesty and menace of nature, is a spellbinding psychological mystery.
Walking Out (Alex Smith & Andrew Smith) NY Premiere Narrative
Fourteen-year-old David (Josh Wiggins) heads to a remote stretch of Montana for an annual visit with his reclusive father Cal (Matt Bomer). After reluctantly agreeing to accompany his dad on a hunting trip in the wilderness, David must rise to the occasion when a series of extreme events leaves an injured Cal dependent on his son to make it back alive. Strikingly shot against dramatic mountain landscapes, Walking Out is a moving survival tale, forgoing easy thrills in favor of harrowing realism and genuine emotional heft. An IFC Films release.
Where is Kyra? (Andrew Dosunmu) NY Premiere Narrative
Michelle Pfeiffer delivers a coolly devastating performance in this noir-tinged portrait of a middle-aged Brooklyn woman driven to extremes. Following the death of her mother, Kyra finds herself jobless and heavily in debt. Desperate to keep from losing her apartment, and with the help of her concerned quasi-boyfriend (Kiefer Sutherland), she resorts to a shocking scheme. Stunningly shot in moody, color-saturated twilight tones, this new film from Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George, BAMcinemaFest 2013) simmers with slow burn suspense until its shattering conclusion.
Whose Streets? (Directed by Sabaah Folayan, Co-Directed by Damon Davis) NY Premiere Documentary
“Our streets!” This electrifying, on-the-ground dispatch from the frontlines of America’s ongoing civil rights struggle captures how the protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown grew into a worldwide movement. Weaving together original
footage, smartphone video, and social media records, it’s an unfiltered look at the protests from the points of view of the community members and activists who took to the streets—and faced down a heavily militarized police force—to demand justice. The result is a much-needed counter-perspective to the prevailing media narrative and an essential record of a galvanizing moment in American history. A Magnolia Pictures release.
The Work (Jairus McLeary & Gethin Aldous) NY Premiere Documentary
Winner of the Documentary Grand Prize at South by Southwest, The Work takes you behind the walls of California’s notorious Folsom State Prison and brings you face to face with a group therapy session unlike any other. Over the course of four explosive days, three inmates and three men from the outside world engage in an intense emotional exorcism as part of a program designed to benefit both convicts and civilians. As they delve into their deepest fears, traumas, and failings, macho posturing gradually gives way to raw vulnerability. For the prisoners and free men alike it’s a cathartic, soul-shaking experience. For viewers, it’s a riveting emotional rollercoaster that proves disarmingly moving.
Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) NY Premiere Narrative
This striking directorial debut from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) is a tense, engrossing murder mystery set in the desolate tundra of a Wyoming Native American reservation. A wildlife officer (Jeremy Renner) discovers the body of a teenage girl, setting off an investigation that will find him partnered with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) and reopening unresolved wounds from his past. Sheridan channels the existential spirit of both hardboiled noir and classic ‘70s crime procedurals, abetted by a plaintive score from Nick Cave and fellow Bad Seed Warren Ellis. The Weinstein Company release.