Lynne Sachs: From the Outside In / DCTV Firehouse

Lynne Sachs: From the Outside In
Jun 7 – 11, 2024
Curated by Dara Messinger
DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema
87 Lafayette Street, NYC

2024 marks 40 years since experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs took her first video class at DCTV. In “From the Outside In”, we traverse Sachs’ documentary films, defiant of traditional genre or style. From peering out, collecting others’ experiences and world events, to looking inward, reflecting on familial histories and entanglements, Sachs weaves the political with the personal. Through this seven-program series of screenings and discussions, with Sachs and collaborators in front of and behind the camera, this retrospective celebrates Sachs’ distinctive artistry and groundbreaking career.

Performing the Real
Fri June 7 at 7 PM
Q&A with Sachs & Lizzie Olesker (co-director of The Washing Society) moderated by filmmaker Sam Green

Eschewing the inherent distance in ethnography and observation, the responsive movement and poetry in this program’s films shine a light on Sachs’ creative impulse to drive collaborative participation and honor the role of catalyst. Special guest:  Paolo Javier (Swerve, poet collaborator).

Fossil, 1986 12 min • The Washing Society 2018 44 min • Swerve, 2022 8 min

Frames and Stanzas: An Artist Talk and Workshop

Sat. June 8 at 12 noon

Pre-registration encouraged.

In this intimate artist talk and workshop, Sachs will share her insights in bridging poetry with cinema. Participants will explore the intersection between moving images and written or spoken words. As part of the class experience, participants will explore their creative practice through writing.

It’s a Hell of a Place

Sat. June 8 at 4 PM

Q&A with Lynne Sachs moderated by Tom Day, Executive Director of Film-Makers Cooperative

A love letter to New York City – when love can also be critical, baffling, sometimes painful. The films in this program all take place in our metropolis called home.

Ladies Wear, 1983 3 min• Tornado, 2002 4 min • Your Day is My Night, 2013 63 min


Sat. June 8 at 7 PM

Q&A with Lynne Sachs moderated by artist Naeem Mohaiemen

Violence begets violence, as protest and resistance begets change. In this program, Sachs’ films dissect war, civil disobedience, and the sociopolitical tides from WWII to Vietnam and today.

The Small Ones, 2007 3 min • The Task of the Translator, 2010 10 min • E•pis•to•la•ry: Letter to Jean Vigo, 2021 5 min • Investigation of a Flame, 2001 45 min

Bodies and Bonds

Sun. June 9 at 2 PM

Q&A with Dara Messinger, Retrospective Curator

Heavy with chains that bind, this program of films magnifies Sachs’ feminist gaze through her personal diaries, family portraits, and women’s testimonies.

Drawn & Quartered, 1987 4 min • The House of Science, 1991 30 min. • And Then We Marched, 3 min. 2017 • A Year in Notes and Numbers, 1987 4 min. • Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor, 2018 9 min. • Maya at 24,  2021 4 min. • Contractions, 2024 12 min • We Continue to Speak,  2024 4 min

Tip of My Tongue + A Month of Single Frames

Mon. June 10 at 7 PM

Q&A with Lynne Sachs and Accra Shepp (member of TOMT cast) moderated by Tabitha Jackson

In A Month of Single Frames (2019, 14 min), Lynne explores filmmaker Barbara Hammer’s experience of solitude. Her text on screen brings them together in multiple spaces and times. In Tip of My Tongue (2017. 84 min.), she gathers together 12 fellow New Yorkers — born across several continents in the 1960s — to spend a weekend with her making a movie. Together they examine the ways in which uncontrollable events outside our own domestic universe impact who we are.

Film About a Father Who + The Jitters

Tues. June 11 at 7 PM

Conversation with Lynne Sachs, Dana Sachs, and Ira Sachs

Film About a Father Who (2020, 74 min) is Lynne’s 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, her cinematic 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. In The Jitters (2023, 3 min),  Lynne performs with her partner filmmaker Mark Street, celebrating who they are independently and together.

Direct link to entire program:

“I’ve been in awe of Lynne’s fearlessness and desire to create, make meaning, rip apart, and piece together. I see her as the epitome of an indelible artist who is driven by curiosity and empathy – not fame, industry demands, or commercial algorithms. And I appreciate her sincere gratitude to her collaborators,  and to DCTV, honorably looking back but always steps ahead. Good documentary filmmaking cannot happen in a vacuum.” – Dara Messinger, Director of Programming, DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema

“I walked into Downtown Community Television (now DCTV) in 1984 thinking I needed to take some classes on how to make a documentary film. I was 22 years old and open to any possibility, any guidance, and totally impressionable. From that moment on, I learned to challenge every conventional expectation about working with reality.  It’s an honor to bring these seven programs back to the Firehouse Theater. As I continue to explore the connections between the body, the camera and the materiality of film itself, I reflect on those early experiences that taught me to reflect upon my own relationship to the people, places and events I continue to witness as a filmmaker.” – Lynne Sachs

Individual tickets for screenings are $16, and $8 for DCTV Members. The artist talk is $20, and $10 for DCTV Members. A Series Pass grants access to all screenings for $80, and $40 for DCTV Members – artist talk is sold separately. A special print monograph will be included with the purchase of a Series Pass, and on sale at Firehouse.

Founded in 1972, DCTV (Downtown Community TV) has grown into one of the leading documentary production and film education centers in the country.  In September 2022, DCTV opened the Firehouse Cinema, a documentary theater where filmmakers and film lovers can come together in appreciation of nonfiction film.

Thank you to DCTV, Film-Makers Cooperative, Cinema Guild, and Sylvia Savadjian.