Spring Film/TV Screenings and Talks in NYC
By Alison Durkee
Spring in New York City is a great time for film lovers, as stars and filmmakers make their way to the Tribeca Film Festival to debut and discuss. Fans of the silver screen have plenty of options beyond this sole high-profile festival, however. Learn more about the worlds of film and television and catch screenings of movies both new and old at these upcoming events in NYC.
Documentary fans can head to the National Museum of the American Indian, which will be screening the documentary Mele Murals, centering on Hawaiian graffiti artists, on May 18, along with a discussion with director Tadashi Nakamura. History buffs, meanwhile, can catch documentaries from the World War II and Cold War eras at the Museum of Interesting Things’ Secret Speakeasy on April 23. Rather learn more about another region’s cinematic world? Those hoping for an introduction to Nordic cinema will get one at the Scandinavian House, whose film programming will include upcoming screenings and discussions on Sámi Blood (April 24), Long Story Short (May 10-11), and Key House Mirror (May 5-6).
For a film discussion, rather than screening, fans can head to Berg’n in Brooklyn on May 18 for a debate on the patriarchal themes (and artistic validity) of the 2015 Oscar winner Birdman. Television fans wanting to learn about a media topic much closer to home, meanwhile, can join the Paley Center for Media on May 8 for an afternoon program centering on local news and its future in Trump’s America. Film Forum will be the spot for classic Hollywood fans, offering an education on some of Hollywood’s greatest character actors with the illustrated talk Character Actors 101 (April 27).
Film Forum, one of the city’s great repertory cinemas, will also host a variety of other events this spring. The cinema will be screening Frederick Wiseman’s 1967 documentary Titicut Follies this April, complete with Q&A events with Wiseman (April 21) and choreographer James Sewell (April 26), who will bring the Follies to life in dance form at NYU Skirball this spring. Another documentary being screened at Film Forum is OBIT, centering on the NY Times’ obituary section, which will feature a discussion with filmmaker Vanessa Gould and film subject Bruce Weber on April 26 and 28. Fans of classic Hollywood films, meanwhile, can join Film Forum for a special screening of To Be or Not To Be on April 23, which will feature a discussion with star Jack Benny’s daughter Joan, or celebrate famed musical theatre writer Betty Comden’s 100th birthday with a screening of the classic Gene Kelly musical It’s Always Fair Weather (May 3). Amanda Green, the daughter of Comden’s iconic collaborator Adolph Green, will introduce the screening.
A few blocks away in the West Village, the IFC Center also has plenty of upcoming events to explore. Upcoming special guests making an appearance at IFC will include Citizen Jane: Battle for the City director Matt Tyrnauer and producer Robert Hammond, the executive director of Friends of the High Line (April 21-23); Tokyo Idols director Kyoko Miyake (April 25); and Step director Amanda Lipitz (May 16). IFC’s upcoming film programming will also include such film series as Border Crossings, about films centering on the U.S.-Mexico border (through July 2); Late-Night Favorites (through July 1); and the documentary festival Stranger Than Fiction (through June 6).
One of NYC’s newest cinemas is Metrograph on the Lower East Side, who will offer their own robust programming this spring. Filmgoers can look forward to such special screenings as Laurel and Hardy films with author Paul Auster (April 26); the documentary Casting JonBenet, complete with a Q&A with director Kitty Green and producers Scott Macaulay and James Schamus (April 28); Gosford Park with actor Bob Balaban (May 10); and The Lovers with director Azazel Jacobs and actress Debra Winger (May 3).
Further uptown, MoMA’s spring film programming includes a variety of film series spotlighting classic and rarely-seen cinema. Current series include Making Faces on Film, a series on blackness in cinema produced in conjunction with the British Film Institute (through April 26), and Mr. Cary Grant, a series of classic films starring the legendary Hollywood actor (May 31). Upcoming film series will spotlight rare 1920s films made by Universal in Son of Universal: More Rediscovered Gems from the Laemmle Years (May 5-16) and the films of Nigerian filmmaker Moustapha Alassane (May 12-15). On May 8, the museum’s Modern Mondays series will put the spotlight on filmmaker and artist Molly Lowe, who will present two of her recent films.
Over in Brooklyn, BAM’s spring film programming includes film series dedicated to New Voices in Black Cinema (April 26-30), Chinese actor-director Jiang Wen (May 3-11), and the upcoming new season of Twin Peaks (May 12-24), which fans can get excited for with a series of films featuring the television series’ stars. Fans of Saturday Night Live, meanwhile, can catch cast member Sasheer Zamata at BAM on April 25, where she’ll screen and discuss her new comedy special Pizza Mind.
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