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Costa Rica International Film Festival Hosts Lynne Sachs Retrospective

June 2022



  • The tenth edition of the CRFIC is celebrated from June 9 to 18, in its first stage, and from June 29 to August 26, in a second itinerant stage, in communities outside the GAM.
  • The public will be able to enjoy 87 films in competition and screening, from 37 countries and in 15 different languages.
  • 69% of the films in programming are directed or co-directed by women.
  • With the presence in the country of the American filmmaker Lynne Sachs, the CRFIC10 pays tribute to her career.


The CRFIC Retrospective section is dedicated to the renowned American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs (1961), who has 37 films to her credit, including short films and feature films, some of which have won awards or have been included in retrospectives at major festivals. .

Regarding the Retrospective, the artistic director of CRFIC10, Fernando Chaves, mentioned that last year the Festival showed Film About a Father Who , a poignant and moving film.

“In this tenth edition of the CRFIC we have the honor of having its director, Lynne Sachs, as a guest of our retrospective,”  continued Chaves, “whom we are excited to present for her mixture of fiction, documentary, experimental cinema, performance and other media. ” 

According to Chaves, with this solid filmography, Sachs demonstrates the energy of contemporary cinema and the multiple forms that this art takes, from an intimate and reflective perspective that dialogues with certain ways of making cinema in our context. 

To close with a flourish, Sachs will hold a workshop where he will experiment with national artists.

Program includes:
• Film About a Father Who
• Con viento en el pelo
• Tip of My Tongue
• A Month of Single Frames
• Carolee, Barbara & Gunvor
• Epistolary: Letter to Jean Vigo
• Drawn & Quartered
• Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning
• Maya at 24
• Same Stream Twice
• Photograph of Wind
• Still Life with Woman and Four Objects
• House of Science: a museum of false facts
• Cuadro por cuadro



San José, Costa Rica, May 20, 2022- With a program of outstanding independent films from 37 countries and in 15 different languages, the tenth edition of the Costa Rica International Film Festival (CRFIC10) is held from May 9 to June 18, in a first stage, and from June 29 to August 26 in a second itinerant stage.

The CRFIC10 will be held in person in downtown San José, as well as in different communities in the country outside the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), with the aim of reaching larger audiences that can enjoy the alternative audiovisual experience proposed by the festival program of the Costa Rican Center for Film Production (Cinema Center). 

The artistic director of the 10CRFIC, Fernando Chaves Espinach, stated that “the Festival brings us the opportunity to confront ourselves with the most challenging, innovative and inspiring cinema that is being made today, with different languages and approaches, from very different countries. We have chosen winning films at renowned festivals such as Sundance, San Sebastián and Locarno, films nominated for Oscars and winners at other competitions, but we have also rescued titles that otherwise would not reach our theaters, true discoveries that show us the effervescence of contemporary cinema and its ability to shake us” .

The venues of the Festival will be located in the Magaly Cinema (the Main Hall and La Salita), the Gómez Miralles Hall of the Cinema Center, the French Alliance (in Barrio Amón) and the CCM San Ramón, CCM San Carlos, CCM Jacó rooms. , CitiCinemas Grecia, CitiCinemas Limón, Paso Canoas and Multiplexes Liberia.

In the itinerant stage, it will take place in the communities of Matambuguito, Shiroles, Boruca, Térraba, Sarapiquí and Grano de Oro.


The 10CRFIC program is made up of a careful selection of 87 international, regional and national films directed and co-directed, 69% by women, with varied content for audiences of all ages.

“We are proud to present a diverse programming in gender and geographical origin, which shows that cinema has never been monolithic in its language or in its origin; this programming allows us to articulate a defense of cinema as a diverse, complex art whose permanence as a vehicle of artistic expression requires spaces for debate and enjoyment such as festivals” , commented Chaves.

For the inauguration of the 10CRFIC, the curatorial team chose the feature film Utama (2022), by Bolivian director Alejandro Loayza Grisi. 

The feature film is a co-production between Bolivia, Uruguay and France and is set in the arid Bolivian highlands, where an elderly Quechua couple have lived the same daily life for years.

In the middle of a drought, Virginio (80 years old) gets sick and aware of his imminent death, he lives his last days hiding the illness from Sisa (81 years old).

Loayza Grisi (1985) began her career in still photography and later entered the world of cinema through film photography. 

As director of photography, he worked on the documentary series Planeta Bolivia, and on multiple short films such as Aicha, Dochera and Polvo. 

Attracted by the stories that can be told through moving images, he ventured into writing and directing his first feature film titled Utama. 

The competitive categories of the programming for this tenth edition are the following: Central American and Caribbean Feature Film Competition, with films from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic; and the National Short Film Competition, with eleven Costa Rican productions.

The 10CRFIC will award a statuette to three films that stand out for their formal quality and content, as well as 8 million colones (approximately US$11K at the exchange rate) in total in incentives and support to the filmmakers selected as winners of the Competitive categories: a 1 million colones prize for Best National Short Film, a 3 million colones prize for Best Costa Rican Feature Film, and a 3 million colones prize for Best Central American and Caribbean Feature Film, as well as two 500,000 colones prizes for special mention Jury Mention in Feature Films and Jury Mention in Short Films, respectively. 

The other sections of the program are: Panorama, Radar, Approach, Last batch, Young people, Memory, Pioneers of cinema and Retrospective.

The jury for the Central American and Caribbean Feature Film Competition is made up of Peter Taylor (Northern Ireland), programmer and curator, and currently director of the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival; Christina Newland (United Kingdom), journalist for Vice, Sight & Sound, BBC, Mubi and Empire, on topics such as cinema, pop culture and boxing; and Pablo Hernández Hernández, (Costa Rica), professor at the University of Costa Rica with a doctorate in Philosophy from the Universität Potsdam and specialist in Aesthetics, philosophy of art and culture.

The jury of the National Short Film Competition is Alexandra Latishev (Costa Rica), a filmmaker who graduated from the New Film and Television School of the Véritas University; Juan Soto (Colombia), editor, director and archivist, who currently works at the Filmoteca de Catalunya as Film Preservation Project Manager; and Vanesa Fernández (Basque Country), director of the Zinebi Festival and coordinator of the Degree in Audiovisual Communication at the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). 

For their part, the CRFIC Industry juries are Gudula Meinzolt (Germany), with training and experience in cultural management and cinema in areas such as research, promotion, organization of festivals, distribution, exhibition and co-production; Karolina Hernández (Costa Rica), founder and general producer of Dos Sentidos SA and coordinator of the Audiovisual Production area of the Office of Communication and Marketing of the Tecnológico de Costa Rica and professor at the University of Costa Rica; and Zsuzsi Bankuti (Hungary), who since 2020 directs the Cutting Edge Talent Camp, since 2022 is the interim director of Open Doors, and also works as an international strategy consultant for the Doha Film Institute, the Torino Film Lab and Cinemart. 

PRESSKIT: bit.ly/CRFIC10presskit 
ITENERARY:  bit.ly/CRFIC10grid
FULL SCHEDULE:  bit.ly/CRFIC10films

“A Conversation with Experimental Director Lynne Sachs: Film About a Father Who, her upcoming project and the power of looking at a horizon”

The Emanon
Sarah Lawrence College
May 10, 2022
by Ethan Cotler ‘23

Figuring out the unique grammar of your life can be difficult. People, situations, can give us question marks with no answers and ellipses that lead to nothing. Lynne Sachs, a Memphis-born experimental filmmaker, attempted to answer some of these questions in her own life with the 2020 documentary, Film About a Father Who. She offers an in-depth look at her father and titular character.  

Ira Sachs Sr. is an enigmatic hotelier out of Park City, Utah, with an unmissable mustache and a penchant for colorful button-ups. His approach to love parallels in eccentricity. He despises loving like a “swan,” the idea of mating with a single soulmate for life. Sachs Sr. chose instead to surround himself with a steady flow of young women and went on to marry—and divorce—a number of them. Many of Lynne Sachs’ childhood peers were enamored by the bravado and Hefner-esque life her father led. But this way of life caused tension at times with those closest to him, to say the absolute least. 

Beginning in 1984, Lynne Sachs chronicled moments in Sachs Sr.’s life for thirty-five years and those in his mother’s, ex-wives’, children’s, and others close to him. Her mission was to elucidate his tucked-away interior life, not just to an audience but to herself. Two years after the release of the film and two years younger than when Sachs began this project, I got to speak with her about it and her greater body of work. Sachs gave a lecture at Sarah Lawrence in the fall of 2021—for those who took Tanya Goldman’s “Experimental Documentary”course. I sat in my apartment in upstate New York and called Sachs, who was in a hotel room in Paris. She’d left her Brooklyn home for a few weeks to attend a screening of her work. In our hours of conversation, what stuck with me the most was what she said about the image above. Sachs stated that it is “the most important in all of Film About a Father Who.” A scene that wasn’t even filmed by Sachs, instead by her father. It’s a tranquil look at three of her siblings as children playing in a creek. For a film that follows a bon vivant and his unorthodox lifestyle, I was taken aback that this scene was the most important. 

The scene occurs once in each of the three acts, all different segments of the same shot. Why? Well, it’s part of what makes this film, like each of her films, have a unique “feeling”—or “grammar”—to them. “Grammar,” as a metaphor, is illustrated in another wonderful scene in act one. I told her,

I really loved that scene in Film About A Father Who.

In it, Sachs, her brother, and her sister sit on her childhood bed talking

about how [your father] doesn’t have a grammar and your mother does when you’re living with each of them. Do you feel that your work as a filmmaker has some sort of grammar behind it? Or is it just question marks when you go into each project? 

I think that what really, really distinguishes an experimental film from a more conventional film, whether you’re talking about a documentary or a narrative or any other form, is a refusal to embrace a formula around grammar or a template—the grammar of cinema. Because people say things like, “well, a great documentary is character-driven,” or they say “you can’t break the 180-degree rule when you’re shooting,” or you must have the exposition sort of identified and articulated in a narrative film by fifteen minutes in.

There’s all these rules about the shape of things. The way shot-reverse-shot insinuates that two people are in the same room and doing things simultaneously. If you know about making films, you know that they’re probably not, but it relies on an assumption on the part of the audience that the grammar of the film will be accessible and key to that—key is familiar.

So then you jump over to something that is more playful, experimental, distinctive in terms of each work, having its own cosmos. And you think that the audience at first might be a little disoriented because the audience doesn’t understand its distinctive grammar, but through the shaping, evolution of the film, the audience starts to register how meaning is constructed. And I think that’s really exciting. And I think that is an opportunity to constantly reinvent how you work with the medium of film. When I hear about someone who says, “well, I bought this software that helps you to write your screenplays, it comes with a template.” 

I think, okay, if it comes with a template, then you are going to construct time in a certain kind of way. You’re going to create your characters in a, probably, formulaic way. So I’m scared of that kind of stuff. I think it’s problematic. So, then you asked that in relationship to Film About a Father Who, and I think that every family has its own grammar as well and that the grammar is significant because it guides you in terms of how you relate to people of different generations or new members of your family. It has to do with how transparent you are. What it means to do something like tell a lie, or what is a white lie? How many different people in your family do you tell white lies to, to protect them?

What does a white lie really mean? People either withhold information or you shift information because you think the truth is going to be complicated or intimidating or painful. So you were asking about the punctuation marks—are my films question marks? I do actually like when people leave my films, asking questions of themselves or questions of society or questions more ontologically about how we construct meaning. I like that. I think that’s an opportunity for being changed by a work of art. Or perhaps being just slightly shifted by it.

There was kind of a shift at the end of the film when you bring in your sister—the one that had been removed from you for so long. A lot of stories about your father- there’s some sort of way you and your other siblings in your minds might have justified them a lot of times, but in that one, there’s no justification for what happened.

Sachs’ half-sister went on a pre-college trip with a best friend from high school, staying in a ski lodge with Sachs Sr. At the end of the vacation, her best friend announced that she had fallen for and would continue to live with her father.

 I felt like that really changed the perception of the film.

Sometimes we do that with things that upset us. We create justification in order to move forward, but then it keeps gnawing at us. So if we finally come to terms with our own anguish with the recognition that the reality is not what we want it to be, but it is there and that we can’t make any more excuses for it. Then I think it’s like a cathartic experience, even if it is difficult. 

Also what I loved about that film is I felt you’re really comfortable not only behind the camera but also in front. Your [1987] short film, Drawn and Quartered, you talked about how you at first edited out your face because you were so embarrassed [to show yourself nude], but then you ultimately decided to put it back in. And I felt like that was a moment of growth? 

In English, we say, “oh, don’t you feel exposed.” We the word exposed on a physical level, and we use it on a psychological level.

So at that point, I was not very secure with showing my body, and I felt vulnerable and I felt too observed. But then later I made a film called the The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts, and I take my clothes off a little, other people do too—it’s a lot about the body.

But what was more of an exposed feeling was the writing. The idea of that you write about things that go on in your body and the grit of it all, the pus, the urine, and all those things. But the thing is, by exposing that, you’re actually saying I’m just like everybody else. I’m a woman. My body’s like all the other women; we’re just shaped a little different. It’s when you open up and expose the narrative of your life and all the compromises that come with that–that’s even more revealing. So there’s all these layers of what it means to be exposed. 

As you’ve made films throughout your career, have you felt you’ve been able to be more comfortable [in front of the camera], or was this something from the beginning you felt— 

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, definitely not. Sometimes I go back — not that I do this very much —  and look at my progress reports from elementary school. And my teachers would say, “Lynne is a good student, but she’s so shy.” I wasn’t a very forthright child. I wasn’t the first person to raise their hand, you know, in those situations. But I think it’s come to me, and I think part of it is, let’s say, making a film like Film About a Father Who. I was so profoundly nervous about making this film.

It’s not just because I was exposing myself to you or to anyone else in the audience, but I was exposing myself, my life to myself. Does that make sense? I’ve never explored this word in this way. You are really making me think! Like I was saying, “Hey, this is really how it is,” because you can get very wrapped up in the day-to-day activities of your life and not really allow yourself to think in an analytical way, an emotional way about how, how you’ve lived your life. And so the film gave me that chance. I realized as I was making Film About a Father Who that two things happen when you’re interviewing and when you’re trying to write.

If I’m talking to one of my siblings and I’m asking them to tell me about how they feel about something, they’re looking to me, and I’m saying, “yes, yes,” and I’m nodding, and I’m affirming as if that’ll fit perfectly into my edit, you know, [like] that’s exactly what I needed. So I found that if we went together into a very dark place, like a closet, there wasn’t that constant affirmation and perhaps, manipulation. So that’s one thing. But then the other thing had to do with the writing and the construction of a voiceover or narration was that I kept censoring myself. So I used a method that has really proven to be super helpful. That was to just record my thoughts in this kind of unfiltered way and then to send it to a transcription service. And then you come back, and you have 20 pages of text. That was how I did it since I kept writing in my moleskin diary and scratching it all out.

I know you got your start with feminist filmmaking. Seeing Film About a Father Who, I wondered was there any sort of [internal] conflict? 

I was actually editing Film About a Father Who during the Me Too movement. So I was cognizant of the fact that I was talking about a man who led a life, well, he’s still alive, in which he had a certain kind of power over different women in his life. Maybe not in the workplace, but you know, in his personal life. And I knew that there were contradictions, but I felt that I was not only making it as a feminist but also as a daughter. You look at your parents as role models, but you also look at your parents for ways to be completely different.

They’re your first models of how to exist in the world and for how to define what their sexuality is—how they define the meaning of their gender. And so either you adhere to that, or you move away. And for example, in Film About a Father Who, I think my brothers were all positioning themselves in very different ways in terms of their own identity as men. I think that they were confronting those things in just as complicated ways as we as daughters were. I mean, my brother Ira said he thinks the gist of the whole movie is a kind of search for a new or refined definition for masculinity in the 2020s.

So I was trying to deal with that all the time to move between my rage at my dad, but also my attempt to forgive him or to recognize his flaws.

I also found it interesting that from the beginning of your career, you started filming people in a unique way, compared to traditional documentarians that do shot-reverse-shot and have them look at a certain place. Whereas I feel like a lot of people that you film will look right at the camera or look right at you. How did you even think to do that? Break that rule. 

Oh, you really picked up on something. That happened particularly in a film called Investigation of a Flame 

(a 2001 documentary by Sachs that illuminates the story of the Catonsville Nine, who were Catholic activists in 1968 who peacefully yet poignantly burned draft files to protest the Vietnam War.)

When I was shooting that film, most of it, not all of it, I shot by myself. I was shooting it, but I was also using it as an opportunity to get to know these incredible anti-war activists, people who had been fighting the fight—the good fight. And even breaking the law in an absolutely nonviolent way as a statement against the Vietnam war. So I was on my way to interviewing someone near Boston. And a friend of mine who worked for National Geographic [said to me], “How are you going to shoot that by yourself? Because where will they look?” But that’s part of a grammar, that conceit, that idea that you have to look like three-quarters off. I think it was Errol Morris, the documentary filmmaker, who came up with a camera which he reconfigured so that people could simultaneously look at him while he was shooting and appear to be looking off at something. He invented some form of refraction to kind of work against that formula for setting up a relationship that isn’t about that the director controlling—[even though] we know the director is controlling. I mean, one of my very favorite places to do interviews is in the car because I think when people look off at a horizon line, even if the car isn’t moving, they become very introspective. Have you ever noticed all the deep conversations you might’ve had in a car? 

Yeah. No, I never thought about that. There must be something with like the horizon—

The horizon, the sort of hermetic solitude—removed from the rest of the world but not really. You’re not in a silent chamber. You’re actually watching the world go by. But people become very— what’s the word? Meditative. 

I definitely remember you having a couple of interviews where a person is looking out a window, looking outside.

I’ve been criticized for that. Oh my God. I had an interview in Investigation of a Flame where I’m interviewing this man. And then I look out the window— the camera looks out the window. And a lot of people were surprised that I kept that. They said, “why didn’t you just put in ‘B-roll’?” But I actually hate the term B-roll. I can’t stand it. It’s so disrespectful of the image, but also, I wanted the shot to convey that I was listening to him. I mean, I thought it was honest. I was listening to this man so intensely that I needed to not look at him. I needed to take in what he was saying.

I think that’s so interesting that you hate that term “B-roll.” Because I definitely feel like for a lot of your films, what makes them so good is that you have like an eye for beauty in all moments. No moment is B-roll. 

I think that I said it was “disrespectful to the image,” but it actually doesn’t allow for the dialogue or the voiceover to have multiple layers of meaning. It just provides a little bit of distraction. I mean, I would say if the idea of B-roll, as in filler, is all you can do, just put in black.

The attention to dialogue is evident in each of Sachs’ films. Her 2013 documentary, Your Day is My Night, documents the lives of Chinese immigrants living in Manhattan’s Chinatown. In a scene where a middle-aged man gives another a back massage, he apologizes for bringing trashed mattresses into their shared living space. He likes to clean them and give them back to people in need. Sachs cut back and forth from a close-up of his hands gingerly rubbing the other’s back to a close-up of his face as he speaks, the window reflecting in his glasses. The audible rhythm of the massage combined with the focus on the scene presented—no, B-roll—makes it feel immersive. It made me linger on every word, every sound. 

Sachs cares greatly about the spoken word but also the written. Many of her films intersect both of these mediums. Her 2020 abstract short film, Girl is Presence, silently follows her daughter arranging items from shark teeth to film strips while a poem is recited as a voiceover. For this short, she collaborated with poet Anne Lesley Selcer. I thought it was intriguing that Sachs, being a documentarian who tend to concern themselves with prose-oriented storytelling, has such a strong interest in poetry. Though, it is not surprising because Sachs herself is a poet. In 2019, her first book was published, Year by Year Poems (Tender Buttons Press) which inspired her 2017 documentary Tip of My Tongue.

I know you write poetry as well.

Yeah, I think there’s an interesting intersection between film and poetry that isn’t just about two different disciplines coming together, but it’s a way of listening. So poetry is like a confrontation with or a disruption of more conventional ways of constructing meaning, of organizing sentences. Poetry asks you to think in more associative ways and in speculative ways and redefines words you thought you knew. It asks you to listen in this kind of super-engaged way. And I also like that poetry thinks about the words in collision with each other and overlapping each other like the songs of words and even the fact that we break lines based on sound and based on rhythm, which is not how prose works. And that’s also how I like to edit, for example, dialogue in my films. I like to think about the ways that things are iterated, not just a cause and effect. Like I say this, and then you say that, and then I say this back to you. So I think poetry pushes you to engage with the oral experience in really revealing ways. I have recently, like in the last four or five years, integrated poetry more and more into my own film work, like with “Tip of My Tongue.” Then I made quite a few films in collaboration with other poets, like Bernadette Mayer or Paolo Javier.

Watching your films, I felt like there was a unique flow to the dialogue a lot of times.

One thing that’s been helpful over the years is I often shoot images separate from recording sound. So when you shoot what we call video image or digital, it’s like the sound and the picture usually, as they say, it sounds so terrible, [are] “married.” So you get the image, and you get the sound, and people tend to privilege the hearing of clear, clean sound in order to convey information. But if you let that go, you can allow dialogue to transform into sound effect. Like in conventional filmmaking, you have a track which is dialogue, a track which is effects, and a track which is music. But if you think of it all as an opportunity for dialogue to become music or for a sound effect to register almost like voice, then you start to get surprises that I think are super interesting.

That just reminded me of like- I love that opening of The Washing Society, where it was cutting to different [exteriors of] laundromats [around New York City]. I just remember watching that, and, you know, I had the volume turned up. And I felt like each laundromat, each area, had its unique sounds to it and really flowed into each one quite nicely, but then became distinct.

Thank you for saying that. In that film and about five others, I’ve worked really closely with Stephen Vitiello, who’s a wonderful sound artist and performer. We started working together on Your Day is My Night in 2013. Then he worked with me on Tip of My Tongue ,  Drift and Bow and Film About a Father Who. I’ll send him sounds from laundromats, then he’ll send me back musical pieces, and they’re usually much longer than the image. So then I have to find more image. And so it’s really like a back and forth the whole time. It’s never simply that he just creates the music track.

That’s the main methodology [for] him making music for your films? You’ll send him soundbites, and he’ll send you music?

Sort of. A lot of times, I’ll send him an image, and then he’ll come up with something, or he’ll say, “listen, [I] sent you all these sounds I made.” He also uses instruments. Sometimes he’ll hire a clarinet player, and then they’ll make these longer pieces, and then I love the piece so much that I think I have to meet him with more image. For me, the places where we have his music are very evocative and also places for thinking so that my films aren’t too much dialogue. I call them a sound vessels so that you can be in this place of resonance without exposition or information or anything like that, listening in a more relational way.

So, sometimes he’ll send you music, and you’ll actually respond by filming more?

Yeah. Yeah, sometimes. 

I think that’s awesome. 

It’s a lot of pressure, but I try to rise to the occasion.

I think in that way it makes the films breathe a little more, you know, so that you have some kind of scene where you have all this activity and energy and conversation, and then you have, a time that’s more sort of more cerebral. It’s not like a rest time. In fact, I think the audience has to kind of work with what they’ve just experienced in the previous scenes. That’s what I think happens in those sections.

Also, I see that you’re very interested in the ephemeral with a lot of your work. I’m wondering, for something as permanent a medium as film is, what is your interest in that?

Hmm, that’s really a lovely question. So, I guess I explored that most… I’m going to think about a couple of films, but I don’t know if you’ve seen them. Did you see Maya at 24?


Maya at 24 is a four-minute short film she released in 2021, which captures her daughter, Maya, at ages 6, 16, and the titular, 24. It’s comprised almost entirely of three paralleled scenes of Maya running in circles around a camera at each of those ages. Sachs shot it in black and white film on her 16mm Bolex. 

So I was thinking about this while my daughter was spinning around me and then later as I was watching those moments on film.  There on the screen are aspects of her that are no more—like I can’t touch anymore, that I can’t access anymore. But film itself can remind me; it’s almost like saying film is the antidote to the ephemeral? It’s sort of saying, “well, nothing is ephemeral because we can contain it and put it in our computer or put it in a can,” but yet it is also constantly reminding us that it no longer is. Did you see a Month of Single Frames? 

No, but that’s the one about Barbara Hammer? 

Yeah. You know, Barbara Hammer’s work? 

A little bit. I’m not too knowledgeable of her, though. 

Well, she was definitely a mentor of mine and a dear friend—she was never a teacher—but I admired her. She was exactly the same age as my mom is, and she was a powerhouse, “lesbian, experimental filmmaker,” that’s what she called herself. And when she was dying, a year before that, she asked me and some other people to make films with materials she had never been able to finish. And so the film that we made, which is a Month of Single Frames, or that I made in homage to her, is also about the ephemeral because it’s a recognition of the mortal coil as well as the changing landscape that you’ll see in the film. The landscape is- has- will always change. So it’s only there to hold onto and to touch in that exact moment. It’s like the Heraclitus, you know, “you can’t step in the same [stream] twice.” And so, it is always passing us by. I’m working on a new film now called Every Contact Leaves a Trace. It’s about people who’ve left imprints on me, but that expression comes from a forensic study. That if you come into my home or space and you take something from me, you leave something of yourself, a residue. So I’m interested in that. What happens when a tangible,  touch-based experience is investigated, which is sort of like, how do we confront the ephemeral?

So for that film, Every Contact Leaves a Trace. Are you trying to take like a neutral stance and pull in people that have had any sort of contact with you—negative or positive? 

I actually only have a pool of 550 people. 

That’s a lot, though.

 But I’m not using all of them. No, I’m not. They are people who, at one point, gave me a card. We had a haptic intersection. It could be a doctor. It could be someone from like a hardware store. I have both of those types of people. I met a man on the border between the United States and Mexico, right in Tijuana. We met for about an hour. He gave me his card. So, I’m actually constructing scenarios in my mind about those. Yeah, it’s kind of similar; you said “ephemeral.” It’s like a passing in the night. That man left something with me. Maybe I left something with him. I don’t know. That happened in 2014, but I have these cards going back all the way to the ’90s. I’m interested in not so much the trajectory of their lives but in the detritus of the moment. I might do kind of playful reenactments. I’m not quite sure.

Like Lynne Sachs’ use of business cards to recall moments with strangers, near the end of the interview, I brought out stills from her films to recall scenes. The image I brought for Film About a Father Whowas one of my favorites, but the one I had the most trouble understanding. It’s the image you have seen twice thus far—Sachs’ siblings playing in a creek. I was first drawn to it by the use of color and light. Then, when I noticed she repeated it across the film it made me believe it had to hold more significance than I understood. Though, I was not prepared for how important. I said to her,

I noticed that you repeated this image in Film About a Father Who.

 Oh, thank you. Okay. I love that you brought that up. What happens in Film About a Father Who is that I have a seven-minute shot that my dad recorded with his own camera. So it’s the world and his children perceived by him. In many films that one makes, you talk to people, and they tell you exactly how they feel about things. But that was really a challenge for me with my father. So, to see the world through his lens, through his eyes, was such an opportunity for me to think about the positive things that he brought to his children. I had that material, and at first, I absolutely dismissed it because it had been completely degraded by time, by the weather, by the fact that the material had been in a garage for decades. Then I looked at it again, and I realized it was the most important image in all of Film About a Father Who. Because it has this compassion, but also as an image, it’s like the classical golden triangle. It’s constructed graphically like what you’re taught in design school or in drawing class—to create this perpetual motion inward towards the center through a triangle. And so, I was interested in using that as a marker three times in the film, but it’s not exactly the same shot. It’s different parts of the same seven-minute shot. Each time you, as the viewer, have a different level of engagement. The first time the children are sort of archetypal children playing in the water. The second time you know that they’ve grown up and you’ve seen them in other places, and you’re able to have a kind of comprehensive understanding of life live;  they have become thinking, engaged adults. The third time that you see it, you bring a kind of gravitas. Like these people have been through some pain. They have wisdom; they have interesting and complex interactions. So I’m interested personally in how you change as viewer because each time you see that frame, you are slightly more knowing. By the end, you’re almost omniscient, but in the beginning, you’re just engaging with it as material image.

 That was so profound. I absolutely love that explanation. 

It was really a reversal because I was so dismissive of that shot, and then I was so enthralled by it. There’s one other shot in Film About a Father Who that’s kind of like that. At the very end, there’s this static-y black and white shot where you only see the silhouette of my father, and he’s going off towards the horizon line. It probably was at the end of a tape and was damaged in some way. But I liked that it was pared down to these high contrasts blacks and whites, and that was it. It is my father, but it could become your father or anyone in your life you’re trying to hold onto.

You can find many of Lynne Sachs’s films on the Criterion Channel, Fandor, DAFilms and Ovid:

Criterion Channel: https://www.criterionchannel.com/film-about-a-father-who

DAFilms: https://americas.dafilms.com/director/7984-lynne-sachs

Fandor: https://www.fandor.com/category-movie/297/lynne-sachs/

Ovid: https://www.ovid.tv/lynne-sachs

State of the Festival: Prismatic Ground 2022 – Illuminating the Emptiness

Mubi Notebook
Chris Shields
05 MAY 2022

This year marks the second installment of Prismatic Ground (May 4 – May 8), a new festival focusing on experimental documentary and avant-garde film and video. Last year’s inaugural edition was a completely virtual affair, but this year the festival returns in a hybrid version with in-person screenings and online viewing available for most of the films in its impressive 14 programs. Co-presented by the Maysles Documentary Center and Screen Slate, Prismatic Ground brings festival-goers a wide range of politically engaged, formally challenging new work by up-and-coming artists alongside established ones like Bill Morrison, Jodie Mack, and this year’s Ground Glass Award recipient, Christopher Harris. In the world of experimental film where visibility and opportunities to premiere new work can be hard to come by, the festival is poised to make a significant splash.

Founded by Inney Prakash in 2021, last year’s edition consisted of four programs of films, as well as a program devoted to its first Ground Glass Award recipient, the avant-garde filmmaker and experimental documentarist Lynne Sachs. The festival honored Sachs, whose career has spanned some three decades, for her sustained contribution to experimental film. In her recent breakthrough film, Film About A Father Who, Sachs collaged decades worth of home movies and new interviews to craft a film about her father, his secret life, and its impact on the people surrounding him (namely Sachs and her siblings). Work like this—intimate, engaged, and formally daring with a documentary slant—similarly characterizes Prismatic Ground’s continued curatorial mission.

“What an honor it was for me to be given the first annual Ground Glass award.” Sachs wrote via email.  Sachs was quick to mention the excitement she felt surrounding the new festival’s place in the landscape of experimental film, writing, “Something altogether surprising happened when Prismatic Ground opened its virtual curtains to the world in 2021. People from all over the globe were watching and writing about experimental, underground, international, radical, poetic, and personal cinema in numbers none of us could ever have imagined. Film festivals across the globe have always been nourished by the elite aura of inaccessibility. With Prismatic Ground, those days are over.”

This year’s Ground Glass award recipient is Christopher Harris, graduated from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, and has spent years as an educator (this writer counts himself as one of his proud former students) and continues to make challenging and meticulous films, like his most well known work, 2004’s haunting and powerful Reckless Eyeballing (its title taken from a Jim Crow-era prohibition on Black men looking at white women), which uses reappropriated footage from D.W. Griffith’s racist epic Birth of a Nation as well as from Foxy Brown to explore the gaze and Black identity in a cinematic context. The filmmaker, who is now the head of film and video production at the University of Iowa, says recognition of his work is welcome. “It’s been a slow build, kind of a slow burn situation,” Harris said. “now it’s even sweeter to have the recognition after just grinding away on my work overtime.” But Harris is quick to add: “I’m more eager and energized to make work now than ever before. So the timing is really great because it just helps to re-energize the passion that’s already there.”

Dreams Under Confinement, Harris’ contribution to this year’s Prismatic Ground, showcases his resolve. The short video, made using Google Earth images, street view, and audio from a police band radio, is the filmmaker’s first all digital work. “This is the first thing I’ve ever made that does not have any analog materials involved,” Harris said. “I’ve never worked this way. But for this work, it was right. For me, whatever materials are used, there has to be an internal logical justification for those materials. I’m not going to use them as if it’s a neutral format and it’s just a content-delivery medium. I don’t treat materials that way.“

The artist’s latest work finds the horror and beauty in the panopticon; surveillance materials create a fugitive, exhilarating race through digital images of Chicago, as the voices of police officers pursuing a suspect frantically blast through static on the soundtrack. Eventually the video’s frenzied journey stops short at the impenetrable walls of Chicago’s Cook County Detention Center. The viewer sees the clouds above as the audio shifts from shrill shouting to peaceful ambience. In a frenetic work about the police, violence, and the racist carceral state, it’s a poignant moment of profound transcendence and tragic wonder. Harris’ approach, with its daring ambition and inherent artistic riskiness, seems to reflect the adventurous spirit found in the best of the festival’s programming. 

Referred to as “waves,” Prismatic Ground’s programs are organized on a loose thematic basis rather than by running time or region of origin. Program titles, like “memory of a memory,” “to report an incident,” “touch me don’t touch me,” and “love as cry of anguish,” are often, if not always, taken from one of the program’s films. The monikers are both specific and flexible enough to create a poetically evocative space for a variety of aesthetics, subjects, and approaches. 

Wave 1, titled “look at that round ass shit,” takes its name from Sim Hahahah’s Memory Playthrough in which rapid, fragmented narration and early PC game-like graphics work together to create a sarcastic video poem. The video, which clocks in under two minutes, is a splash of brief but biting reflection on personal stories, the reality of the perceived world, and the medium itself. It’s a playful but incisive opening salvo for the program.

In G. Anthony Svatek’s Global Fruit, 16mm photography gives the short a timeless feel. The images of globally sourced fruit covered with the frost of a New York city blizzard create a clear and dynamic visual metaphor. With both Svatek and Hahahah’s films, the image of the globe (both figuratively and literally) emerges, and the program’s thematic concept begins to take shape.

Also in the program, Experimental filmmaker and animator Jodie Mack’s Wasteland No. 3: Moons, Sons is filled with grotesque images of biomatter undergoing a timelapse transformation. The subjects are organic but the rhythm of the piece is smooth and deliberate. There is something funerary about the flowers and plants we see, and their possible thaw or submersion has visceral impact, evoking cellular happenings on a larger scale. The (possible) thawing we witness rhymes nicely with the frosted fruit of Global Fruit and continues wave 1’s theme in an albeit more (welcomely) obtuse way.

Wave 2, titled “wings,” focuses on identity. Paige Taul’s Goat is a sweet ode to a pair of Air Jordan’s and the woman who wears them. Black and white photography shows detailed images of a basketball net, a woman’s hair, and her sunglasses, as a voice unhurriedly narrates a description of her shoes and her feelings about them. Yashaddai Owens’ D’Homme A Homme is a fun 8mm exploration of proud Blackness and masculinity set to hip hop. Filled with exuberant and memorable images, it has a decidedly vintage feel with a modern sonic twist.

Iván Reina Ortiz’s autoethnography, a filmic meditation on sexual orientation, gender, art, and personal history, continues wave 6’s theme in both a reflective and reflexive way. The artist mixes potent poetic imagery with, somewhat less effective, home video footage. Ortiz’s self-interviewing leads to the film’s most powerful moment. We see an image of the filmmaker’s bare chest with the shadow of a hand moving across it, attempting to grasp it in some way, the film’s earlier questioning about the place of the body on screen materializing into visual substance. 

While Prismatic Ground does boast a feature length centerpiece, the excellent and unsettling essay film Nuclear Family, the waves seem to uniquely represent the festival’s novel, surprise- filled approach. Wave 4 features Razah AlSalah’s gloriously transcendent Canada Park, a playfully ethereal exploration of both the flatness and three dimensionality of street view imagery from off the beaten path. The narration seems to be from the perspective of the all-seeing digital camera and its (seemingly) unlimited purview.  But quickly the cheap, halting imagery of the park becomes pure form and color melting before the viewer’s eyes. The representational digital images reveal themselves for what they really are—the malleable data behind their mundane facades. It’s an elegant variation on glitch set to a swelling synth that lifts the imagery from the practical to the profound as we “see” as the machine “sees.” When representational images of trees and fields return, the viewer seems to soar over them in golden light through space and possibility, seeing beyond mere landscape. But all the while the piece pushes up against the limits of digital imagery, sometimes zooming into its furthest reaches and encountering flatness. The film seems to joyfully revel in its idiosyncratic oscillations and the viewer can’t help but be swept away by it.

Other festival highlights include Gloria Chung’s True Places from wave 5, in which hazy, impressionistic landscapes seen from an airplane window are slowed and abstracted as a calm voice narrates. The words come from a New Yorker article about the changing landscape of Indigenous arctic hunters and the cumulative feeling is mournful but curious. Wave 6 includes cherry brice jr.’s This Is A Pornographic Film–or,goodbyetoArt, a sparse and delicately photographed film in which men masturbate. The images we see are a collection of details: mouths, chests, arms, and close-ups of the surrounding room. There are some candid conversations as well as a more pointed one about high art that serves as, perhaps, a counterpoint to some of the more mundane and graphic images we see. It’s a small, intimate work of the everyday with dual dimensions of irony and candor. 

Wave 6, “touch me don’t touch me,” takes its name from Rhea Storr’s Madness RemixedThe film is a well-composed combination of what appears to be single frame abstraction, glitches, and photographs. A few key moments of spoken audio connect what we are seeing, including the film’s images of Josephine Baker, to the issue of cultural appropriation and exploitation of Black bodies in labor and images. The message echoes a slogan seen on signs in various forms during the George Floyd uprising: you love Black culture but not Black people. It’s an impressive mix of formalism and explicit political meaning.

In Edgar Jorge Baralt’s A Thousand Years Agofrom wave 10, images have double lives. We see the world as it is, but the film’s conceit posits what we are seeing as the world that was, the narration reflecting back on what we see from a possible future. Poetic images take on a double meaning as well. An image of the sun reflecting on water evokes the sepia tones of a sonogram. The narration muses on the origins of life long, long ago, as we watch the shape of light on the water resembling the grainy image of a fetus.

Baralt, whose previous film, the gentle Ventana, screened in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Berlinale Shorts in 2021, said in a conversation of his most recent film, “I felt the impulse to make this film after reading Mario Benedetti’s semi-autobiographical novel, Andamios. I didn’t set out to adapt this novel at all, but it helped me arrive at this framework by which to look at the present and all of its spiraling contingencies.” About the film’s use of everyday images for expansive fictive purposes, he explained, “I’ve always admired filmmakers whose raw material is ‘the everyday.’ I think it gets to an essential aspect of my fascination with cinema both as filmmaker and audience: the questioning of what reality is. What we take for granted, what we choose to look at, and what we choose to believe about it all.”

As far as being included in Prismatic Ground’s 2022 edition, Baralt is thrilled, saying, “Aside from the programs being filled with filmmakers whose work I love, I sense an enthusiasm from the programming team for reimagining what a festival is and how it’s experienced.” What Prismatic Ground is adding to the world of experimental cinema is essential and exciting, and in Baralt’s words, “It means everything. Whenever you read about the state of cinema these days, it is all doom and gloom stories of an industry in decay. So it is in these alternative outlets that you see resilience and passion. It’s always inspiring to see work bursting with possibilities, attempting to redefine what cinema can be for the years to come.” To quote the filmmaker’s new work, Prismatic Ground is a spark “illuminating the emptiness.”

Prismatic Ground runs May 4 – 8, 2022 online and in various locations around New York.

Lynne Sachs will give a workshop on autobiographical family portraits at La Casa Encendida (Madrid)

Lynne Sachs will give a workshop on autobiographical family portraits at La Casa Encendida
May 24-26, 2022
La Casa Encendida (Madrid)


Lynne Sachs will give a workshop on autobiographical family portraits at La Casa Encendida
Posted on 04/26/2022 – 12:37:22

The director of “Film About a Father Who” will give this theoretical-practical workshop from May 24 to 26, and will present a monographic session of her work on May 25.

The training program of the cultural center La Casa Encendida (Madrid) will receive the visit of the American filmmaker Lynne Sachs next May, who will give a workshop on the autobiographical family portrait . According to La Casa Encendida, in the workshop “we will explore the ways in which the images of our mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, grandfather, aunt or uncle can become material for the making of a personal film. Each participant will come the first day with a single photograph that she wants to examine. She will then create a cinematic rendering for this image by incorporating narration and acting. In the process, we will discuss and question the notions of expressing the truth and the language necessary for it.”

This workshop is inspired by the work Family Lexicon by the Italian novelist Natalia Ginzburg, whose writing explores family relationships during fascism in Italy, World War II and the postwar period. Ginzburg was a perceptive artist who unified the usual distinctions between fiction and nonfiction: “Whenever I have found myself inventing something according to my old habits as a novelist, I have felt compelled to destroy it immediately. The places, events and people are all real.”

Lynne Sachs is the creator of genre-defying cinematic works through the use of hybrid forms and interdisciplinary collaboration, incorporating elements of essay film, collage, performance, documentary, and poetry. Her highly self-reflective films explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and larger historical experiences. Sachs’s recent work combines fiction, nonfiction, and experimental modes. She has made more than 25 films that have been screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto Images Festival, among others. They have also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, and other national and international institutions. The Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (BAFICI), the New Cinema International Festival in Havana, and the China Women’s Film Festival have all presented retrospectives of her films. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and is a part-time professor in the Art department at Princeton University.

The workshop will be given in English and Spanish, an adequate level of the language is recommended. Students will have free access to the screening of the Monograph of the filmmaker Lynne Sachs, on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.


Lynne Sachs impartirá en La Casa Encendida un taller sobre el retrato autobiográfico familiar

Publicado el 26/04/2022 – 12:37:22

La directora de “Film About a Father Who” impartirá este taller teórico-práctico del 24 al 26 de mayo, y presentará una sesión monográfica de sus trabajos el 25 de mayo.

El programa formativo del centro cultural La Casa Encendida (Madrid) recibirá el próximo mes de mayo la visita de la cineasta estadounidense Lynne Sachs, quien impartirá un taller sobre el retrato autobiográfico familiar. Según apuntan desde La Casa Encendida, en el taller “exploraremos las formas en que las imágenes de nuestra madre, padre, hermana, hermano, primo, abuelo, tía o tío pueden convertirse en material para la realización de una película personal. Cada participante acudirá el primer día con una sola fotografía que quiera examinar. A continuación, creará una representación cinematográfica para esta imagen mediante la incorporación de la narración y la interpretación. En el proceso, discutiremos y cuestionaremos las nociones de expresar la verdad y el lenguaje necesario para ello”.

Este taller está inspirado en la obra Léxico familiar de la novelista italiana Natalia Ginzburg, cuya escritura explora las relaciones familiares durante el fascismo en Italia, la Segunda Guerra Mundial y la posguerra. Ginzburg fue un artista perspicaz que unificó las distinciones habituales entre ficción y no ficción: “Cada vez que me he encontrado inventando algo de acuerdo con mis viejos hábitos como novelista, me he sentido obligada a destruirlo de inmediato. Los lugares, eventos y personas son todos reales”.

Lynne Sachs es la creadora de obras cinematográficas que desafían el género mediante el uso de formas híbridas y la colaboración interdisciplinaria, incorporando elementos de la película de ensayo, el collage, la actuación, el documental y la poesía. Sus películas altamente autorreflexivas exploran la intrincada relación entre las observaciones personales y las experiencias históricas más amplias. El trabajo reciente de Sachs combina los modos de ficción, no ficción y experimental. Ha realizado más de 25 películas que se han proyectado en el Festival de Cine de Nueva York, en el Sundance Film Festival, en el Images Festival de Toronto, entre otros. También han sido exhibidas en el Museum of Modern Art, el Whitney, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts y en otras instituciones nacionales e internacionales. El Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI), el Festival Internacional Nuevo Cine en La Habana y el Women’s Film Festival de China han presentado retrospectivas de sus películas. Actualmente vive en Brooklyn, Nueva York y es profesora a tiempo parcial en el departamento de Arte de la Universidad de Princeton.

El taller será impartido en inglés y castellano, se recomienda un nivel adecuado del idioma. Los alumnos tendrán acceso libre y gratuito a la proyección del Monográfico de la cineasta Lynne Sachs, el miércoles 25 de mayo a las 19.30.

Lynne’s Films Currently Streaming on Criterion, DAFilms, Fandor, & Ovid

Film About a Father Who available on Criterion Channel: https://www.criterionchannel.com/film-about-a-father-who

Available on DAFilms: https://americas.dafilms.com/director/7984-lynne-sachs
Drawn and Quartered
The House of Science: a museum of false facts
Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam
States of UnBelonging 
Same Stream Twice
Your Day is My Night
And Then We Marched 
Carolee, Barbara & Gunvor
The Washing Society
A Month of Single Frames
Film About a Father Who

Available on Fandor: https://www.fandor.com/category-movie/297/lynne-sachs/
Still Life With Woman and Four Objects
Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning
The Washing Society
The House of Science: a museum of false facts
Investigation of a Flame

Noa, Noa
The Small Ones
Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam
Atalanta: 32 Years Later
States of UnBelonging 

A Biography of Lilith
The Task of the Translator
Sound of a Shadow

The Last Happy Day
Georgic for a Forgotten Planet
Wind in Our Hair
Drawn and Quartered
Your Day is My Night

Widow Work 
Same Stream Twice

Available on Ovid: https://www.ovid.tv/lynne-sachs
A Biography of Lillith
Investigation of a Flame
The Last Happy Day
Sermons and Sacred Pictures
Starfish Aorta Colossus
States of Unbelonging
Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam
Your Day is My Night
Tip of My Tongue
And Then We Marched

A Year of Notes and Numbers

“Lynne Sachs: Tender Non-Fictions” on DAFilms with interview by Cíntia Gil

March 2022

Lynne Sachs: Tender Non-Fictions

We are delighted to present a program of films by experimental documentarian Lynne Sachs, who has been prolifically creating works for cinema for four decades. Her non-fiction films, represented here in 11 works of varying lengths, powerfully evokes the curiosity and richness of a life lived through art.

Living in Brooklyn, New York, Sachs is part of a community of active experimental and documentary filmmakers and has long eschewed conventional forms of making movies. Her work, perhaps inevitably, defies easy classification. Instead, it is best understood collectively as a sprawling adventure playground, stretching across continents and blending influences across the borders of distinct art forms. Our focus maps a path through some of the ideas and forms that recur time and again in Sachs’ cinema.

The marks of war that linger in the background of a society—from Vietnam to the Middle East—are an ever-present specter in her long format films, as are the transformative effects of time on members of one’s own family. Feminism in all its forms is an animating subject and drive for Sachs, from the early formal experimentations with bodies and spaces in Drawn and Quartered to the energy of the Women’s March fragment And Then We Marched to the love, artistic kinship, and solidarity between female friends and comrades evident in Carolee, Barbara & Guvnor or, more implicitly, A Month of Single Frames.

Her latest feature length work, Film About a Father Who, whose title hints at Yvonne Rainer, provides a perfect entry-point into her style. This film is not only a torn and disrupted family album, but is also a document of the development of the evolution Sachs’ filmmaking over the years. A feature-length polyphonic portrait of her father, Ira Sachs Sr., taken over many years, it ultimately suggests that the man himself is unknowable, that his mysteries are too vast to be captured by a camera. Through reckoning with this fact, Sachs seems to suggest, the filmmaker is able to unearth other truths, about herself and about her family as a whole. A crucial early work, marking the end of a distinct period in Sachs’ work, The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts, is available to watch for free.

About DAFilms

DOC ALLIANCE – The New Deal for Feature Documentaries

Doc Alliance is the result of a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals: CPH:DOXDoclisboaMillennium Docs Against GravityDOK LeipzigFIDMarseilleJi.hlava IDFF and Visions du Réel. The aim of the Doc Alliance initiative is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and continuously promote quality creative documentary films.

Activities of DOC ALLIANCE:

• Doc Alliance Selection – Since 2008, the Doc Alliance platform presents the Doc Alliance Selection Award. The award goes to the best European documentary film selected independently by each of the platform’s festival members. The individual festivals also nominate the representatives of the jury of experts, recruited among the film critics from the festival countries. Within the Doc Alliance Selection section, each of the Doc Alliance festivals screens at least 3 films nominated for the award in the given year.

• The online portal DAFilms.com is the main project of the Doc Alliance festival network formed by 7 key European documentary film festivals. It represents an international online distribution platform for documentary and experimental films focused on European cinema. For a small fee, it offers over 1900 films accessible across the globe for streaming or legal download. The films are included in the virtual database on the basis of demanding selection criteria. The portal presents regular film programs of diverse character ranging from presentation of archive historical films through world retrospectives of leading world filmmakers to new premiere formats such as the day-and-date release. DAFilms.com invites directors, producers, distributors, and students to submit their films, thus offering them the possibility to make use of this unique distribution channel. For more information, see FILM SUBMISSION.

Lynne Sachs in Conversation with Ela Bittencourt about “Film About a Father Who”

A conversation between filmmaker Lynne Sachs and critic & cultural journalist Ela Bittencourt on the occasion of “Film About a Father Who”‘s release in virtual theatres 2020-2021.

Interview Transcript

About Ela Bittencourt
Ela Bittencourt is a critic and cultural journalist, currently based in São Paulo. She writes on art, film and literature, often in the context of social issues and politics.

“Opening the Family Album” a workshop with Lynne Sachs at Shapeshifters Cinema Presented in conjunction with the SF Cinematheque


Opening the Family Album
Instructor: Lynne Sachs
Thursday, April 7, 2022
5-7pm (immediately preceding the screening of Lynne’s documentary Film About a Father Who)
In-person at Shapeshifters Cinema
Admission: $20 ($18 for Shapeshifters and Cinematheque members) – Register here
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for attendance

Opening the Family Album is a two-hour workshop in which participants will explore the ways in which images of family members might become material for the making of a personal film. Each participant will come to the workshop with a single photograph (both in hand and digital) they want to examine. During the workshop, participants will write text in response to this image by incorporating storytelling and performance. In the process, we will discuss and challenge notions of truth-telling and language. Your final work will then be a live narration with image. This workshop is inspired by the work of Italian novelist Natalia Ginzburg, whose writing explores family relationships during the Fascist years and World War II. Ginzburg was a prescient artist who enjoyed mixing up conventional distinctions between fiction and non-fiction: “Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt compelled at once to destroy it. The places, events, and people are all real.”

“Family Affairs” at Other Cinema – Programmed by Craig Baldwin – Benefit Show for Humanity Now

Other Cinema 2022
Programmed by Craig Baldwin

Other Cinema shows films every Saturday at ATA Gallery, 992 Valencia (@ 21st). Showtime 8:00pm, admission* $7.

Lynne Sachs brings us Film About A Father Who, a feature length archeological DIG into her own internal movie archive. Over a period of 35 years between 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Sachs shot 8 and 16mm film, videotape and digital images of her father, Ira Sachs Sr. Film About A Father Whois her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to her siblings. With a nod to the Cubist renderings of a face, Sachs’ exploration of her father offers simultaneous, sometimes contradictory, views of one seemingly unknowable man who is publicly the uninhibited center of the frame yet privately ensconced in secrets. In the process, she allows herself and her audience inside to see beyond the surface of the skin, the projected reality. As the facts mount, Sachs as a daughter discovers more about her father than she had ever hoped to reveal. A benefit show for Dana Sachs‘ Humanity Now project which has launched an emergency fund to assist Ukrainian refugees. *$10-$100

Lynne’s Film Strip Tease
performed at Other Cinema on April 9, 2022

Strip it all down and get into the raw material. Let me share with you the images I’ve excavated from this archaeological hollow.  Nowhere else on earth but here at 992 will you find so much material to send your artist brain a-soaring. I don’t come here to be inspired. I come to make my mind work so hard it’s dizzying. The cave below our feet holds us. it contains the way we see ourselves, the way we depict others, it guides us toward what we need to think about. It makes me sick, angry, depressed, humiliated, devastated and so painfully aware. It’s not the Internet. It’s not vast, intangible, omniscient, everywhere or nowhere. It’s something to hold, has weight, will decay, and destruct. I need to rush, don’t stop for even a minute to breathe because if I do it will all be gone, back into the soil. Since 1989, I’ve been walking down those stairs, opening those cans, spinning those reels in my search for all that I didn’t know I could find but Craig led me toward, with cans and clips under his arms, in his grip. Now in mine. I leave San Francisco, fly home to New York City and begin the exhilarating process of foisting those images and sounds into my movies. They take me where I never want to go and that’s the place I should be. A year or so later, I’ll come back to this place. On this trip, I won’t just visit the film cave below. I am here for  the theater above, basking in the glow of the screen where the treasures I found downstairs will dress up for the show, now pulled from their context, liberated from their intention or relevance, allowed to soar as free agents in their renaissance, their new collaged lives. It’s not the images we record with our cameras or the ones others take of us that reveal who we are in the world. The ultimate film striptease of the soul is the dance we play with those images we FIND, or find us, and gravitate towards, the few and the mighty  which will puncture our very being, until, at last, we can bleed.

“Film About a Father Who” at Shapeshifters Cinema

Lynne Sachs’ Film About a Father Who
presented in association with Shapeshifters Cinema and Pacific Film Archive 

THURSDAY, APRIL 7, 2022 — 7:30 PM
567 5th Street
Oakland, CA 94607 – MAP

Lynne Sachs In Person

Program presented in association with Shapeshifters Cinema and Pacific Film Archive

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Admission: $10 General/$6 Cinematheque Members and Shapeshifters Members

Event tickets here

COVID-19 SAFETY REQUIREMENTS: Proof of Vaccination required for all attendees. Masks must be worn at all times while indoors.

In her nearly forty-year career as a filmmaker, Lynne Sachs, in various shorts and long form works, has developed a uniquely engaged and sensitive approach to personal experimental documentary form. Frequently focusing on families—often her own—Sachs’s films portray their subjects with rare personal complexity and grace. In so doing, Sachs’ portraits describe their subjects within the flows of history, always within the interwoven, multigenerational webs of family, friendships and society. Consisting of footage collected by Sachs from 1984 to 2019, and collecting oral history from family members documenting nearly a half century of family history, Film About a Father Who presents a complicated, multi-vocal, narrative portrait of the filmmaker’s father, while exploring a complex family dynamic of anger, confusion, love and forgiveness, evolving over generations. (Steve Polta)

My father has always chosen the alternative path in life, a path that has brought unpredictable adventures, many children with many different women, brushes with the law and a life-long interest in trying to do some good in the world. It is also a film about the complex dynamics that conspire to create a family. There is nothing really nuclear about all of us, we are a solar system composed of a changing number of planets revolving around a single sun, a sun that nourishes, a sun that burns, a sun that each of us knows is good and bad for us. We accept and celebrate, somehow, the consequences. (Lynne Sachs)

RELATED SCREENING: Three additional films by Lynne Sachs—The Washing Society (2018, made with Lizzie Olesker), And Then We Marched (2017) and E•pis•to•lar•y: Letter to Jean Vigo (2021)—screen at Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive on Wednesday, April 6. Full details here