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BAMcinemafest 2022 Interview: Lynne Sachs and Paolo Javier on Crafting a Clever Turn of Phrase with “Swerve” / The Moveable Fest

BAMcinemafest 2022 Interview: Lynne Sachs and Paolo Javier on Crafting a Clever Turn of Phrase with “Swerve”
The Moveable Fest
By Stephen Saito
June 24, 2022

Lynne Sachs showed a rough cut of her latest film “Swerve” to her mother, wanting to test out whether the meaning of words would come out even if she didn’t understand all the language when a bit of Tagalog is thrown into the mix of the mostly English-language short.

“I wanted her to think about them and allow herself to play and to hear this phrase or that phrase and how it’s iterated,” said Sachs, who teamed with the poet Paolo Javier on a film in which the rhythm of the verses taken from his latest collection “O.B.B. aka The Original Brown Boy” create an infectious energy that overtakes whatever strict definition they have. In the heart of Queens at the HK Food Market where the food court may be pan-Asian, but the cultural stew of customers is even more diverse, Sachs and Javier make a meal out of zipping around table to table where a pandemic may have kept some customers away, but as people begin feeling their way back into the world, the sensations of reconnecting are conveyed in phrases that may come across as nonsequiturs individually but coalesce into something greater as the feeling behind intonations and delivery transcend the statements themselves. Blurring the lines between what’s indoors and outdoors as the film traverses the mall and the park just outside, “Swerve” elicits the interior lives of its ensemble as they go about their daily lives but allow one to see the beauty in making it another day.

With “Swerve” making its world premiere this weekend at the BAMCinemaFest, Sachs and Javier graciously reteamed to talk about emerging from the pandemic to shoot the eight-minute short and turning verbal poetry into a cinematic language while making other choices about what to translate and what not to.

How did this come about?

Paolo Javier: I’ve known Lynne for quite a while now and in terms of the pandemic, time has been really altered forever right, so I’m hanging onto all those seconds I’ve known Lynne and doubling the length. [laughs] I’m a big admirer of hers and we just clicked as friends. Lynne also is a poet and for this particular film, I had a book that was forthcoming and I asked Lynne if she would like to collaborate on something to occasion the release of the book. It could be really any form that she wants to take. I didn’t expect it being the film that Lynne ended up making, and I say this with awe and astonishment and just deep humility because I’m just over the moon. Every time I watch “Swerve,” I get something new from it. But [initially it was] the idea of doing something low-key and not necessarily elaborate, and collaborations take a life of their own.

Lynne Sachs: I just adore the way that Paolo puts words together, and the way that he listens in a parallel fashion to a documentary maker because you’re always soaking up the world, but as an experimental filmmaker, you listen to the world, and in this case, you observe with your ears, but then you allow yourself to rearrange the words to become more aware of their meaning outside or beyond or even within reality. One of the things that I wanted to do with this film was to examine what it meant to write poetry within a pandemic and specifically in a place that was a vortex of some of the worst hit communities, at least in the United States. That was Elmhurst, Queens, which that market you saw [in the film] was much more thriving than it is now before the pandemic. And in that community, there were so many languages, I started to think about, “Okay, you have Spanish, you have Chinese, you have Tagalog — so many different ways that different communities communicate and then you have poetry. [So I wondered] Can poetry be a language? Why does poetry always have to be part of a remove from the quotidian? And my goal was to make poetry quotidian, not just available or accessible or understandable, but more like let’s celebrate all the languages and then there’s this one which is Paolo Javier’s poetry language – it’s not just any poetry, but it’s his poetry. So I said could people speak in Javier?

Lynne, were you free at first to take Paolo’s words and run with them in terms of finding corresponding images or did you work together on that?

Lynne Sachs: I would say the images were my idea and I decided to do it in the Hong Kong Food Market, mostly because [Paolo] introduced me to it. Paolo was, for four years, the Queens poet laureate, so he got to know all the restaurants and he knows everyone. Food is a big part of our family’s relationship. We eat meals together, so it has to be about food, but not just look at these pretty plates and take pictures. It has to be eating. And we were supposed to shoot the whole film in that market, but then something called the Delta Variant came in and we almost canceled the whole thing. [The shoot] was pretty challenging to coordinate, and I’m actually glad that we have the masks in it because it’s more about now. We didn’t have to fake it.

For Paolo, I’m guessing the words were locked in, but was the meaning of them changing as this unfolded?

Paolo Javier: Yeah, I was hoping for the language to take a life of its own, especially as it’s spoken, uttered, performed by our individual actors, and one of the great experiences I have of watching “Swerve” is how much of a Lynne Sachs film it is. I really feel like I’m just a bit part in it, that it’s my poems that are being performed, but it’s its own thing and that’s what you hope for. The language that’s uttered by the actors, they’re performing sonnets — Shakespearean sonnets for that matter, so you have this tension between old form, but it’s not these are rhyming poems and the syntax is not really syntax, it’s more like parataxes where the word order is really slippery. There’s a lot of slippage just within the lines. So what I was really hoping was that the actors were not terrified by this poetry and they could really make it their own. Because it’s Lynne Sachs directing this, I think they knew what they were signing onto and made it their own within the space of HK Food Court in Elmhurst and also the space that Lynne gave them.

Lynne Sachs: Actually, Paolo, there’s a little bit of Tagalog in the film. What does that mean to you?

Paolo Javier: Well, this is actually something we discussed. Do we translate the Tagalog that appears in the film? I’m all for having captions, just for accessibility, but then this became an aesthetic consideration of do we include a translation of Tagalog. Lynne made the call to not translate it and as a sound poet, I have to respect that. Language is an aural experience, but [especially] pre-Hispanic, Filipino poetry is an aural experience, so to hear Tagalog spoken and experienced as a sound in a film that really asks you to open up your experience of language and poetry, I feel was a really daring decision, and aesthetically, it just makes sense. Legibility is always something that artists think about, some more than others, but this film came about in anticipation of a launch of a book of mine, an experimental comics book and the aim of the book when I was making it was to really blur the lines between poetry and comics, so I really feel that decision of not having Tagalog be translated is Lynne really taking the next step in terms of making a cinepoem, [where] it’s not a film striving to illustrate a poem.

Lynne Sachs: I did want to extract certain words and phrases and put them on screen. That was fun.

Paolo Javier: And Lynne shared several edits of this film and the decision to translate or not translate Tagalog comes out of the various edits that Lynne was making. This is what I love about cinema is just how hands on and how tactile all the elements are and that’s the kind of poet that I am with language. Lynne shared with me several versions of this film and asked what my opinion was and she was very generous to include me.

Lynne Sachs: Very precise notes. Very good notes.

You mentioned this quotidian idea of poetry before and in a literal sense, there’s a flow to the visual language, but you keep it grounded. What was it like to figure out?

Lynne Sachs: Maybe I can talk a little bit about the actors because this text is pretty intimidating and there’s an old fashioned term in theater like oh you have to memorize your lines. This text is pretty intimidating — and only one person in the group really was capable of it — but I really liked their awkwardness [generally]. I like that they don’t own it and one guy who wrote it on his hands and you wouldn’t even see it, one wrote it on his mask. You would say it was on book [in film parlance], but also we are talking about something that comes from a book, so we want to say this is about reading. Paolo actually used a term when we were talking the film, “Ars Poetica” cinematically because it tells you about the ways that cinema or poetry picks up on how we conduct our lives, but then we’re given permission to rework it and throw it into a soup that doesn’t have a recipe. I really thought that was similar.

How did you end up with your ensemble?

Lynne Sachs: I’ll start with Inney Prakash — Paolo and I met Inney for the first time on Zoom in May of 2020 and we were supposed to teach a film and poetry workshop at Maysles Documentary Center and then the pandemic happened. And what’s incredible is [Inney] had just moved to New York and to have such a major impact on this city is amazing, so I had met him there and then he did his [virtual] film festival, Prismatic Ground, and when I saw him in the little box [on screen] when he was being a host, I thought he had a nice charisma and presence, so I asked him if he wanted to be in the film. I didn’t know that Inney is a professional actor basically — it’s not his main interest or commitment, but he’s been in theater and some film, so he came totally prepared. And Juliana Sass is someone I’ve known since she was a little baby and I think she’s a great actor. I always wanted to have her in a film and her mom is a good friend of mine, so I asked her to be in it and then I knew Jeff Preiss, a renowned filmmaker and a big supporter of independent film. He shot “Let’s Get Lost,” which was a classic on the ‘80s on Chet Baker, so I’ve admired lots of his work, but I almost could’ve guessed that he never did anything in front of the camera and out of the blue Paolo asked me if I happened to know Jeff…

Paolo Javier: Because during the pandemic, I was working at a different job as a curator and program director working from home remotely and while I’d assemble my programs, I’d just watch what films of Jeff Preiss I could just find online. At one point, I just kept rewatching his video of the REM song “Near Wild Heaven” and snippets of “Let’s Get Lost” and whatever I could find and I always have music or cinema on to sustain me, so I don’t get stuck. And when it came time to cast, I just asked Lynne, “do you know Jeff?” And I never would’ve imagined or even ever dared to ask Jeff [to be in the film], so that was Lynne’s idea.

Lynne Sachs: [Paolo] just wanted to know, “Do you know Jeff Preiss?” And [Jeff] burst out laughing when I asked him to do it. But I liked that. That’s one of the interesting things that happens in New York is that people wear different hats and you can be fluidly part of someone’s community and if you’re not very good at playing the piano, but a little good, then you can do it in the way that you don’t know it, but you’re into doing it.

Paolo Javier: Yeah, I never once doubted that Lynne would just engage all the performers in a meaningful way, just because I’ve seen what she’s done in her previous films. “Your Days, My Night” is one of my all-time favorite films, period and for Lynne to have assembled a crew and direct all of those performances in that film, [I thought] this film is a piece of cake. [laughs] And the other performers, Emmey Catedral and ray ferriera are from Queens and they’re both familiar with the park that is the other location of this film, so it was really important to include both in this film for that fact that they’re locals and this is a space that they frequented, but also they’re artists. They’re both good friends of mine who I participated in the Queens Biennial with in 2018, and there’s so much in the DNA of this film that’s in the DNA of other aspects of the location, so it’s really great that both said yes.

When this was filmed in the summer of 2021, what was it like getting together for a film as you’re coming out of quarantine?

Lynne Sachs: That’s probably the most important question of all, really, at that moment in all of our lives. As the director, it was a major responsibility and I was a little scared for myself to be in this group dynamic, but I was even more scared because I was asking people to do something that could’ve compromised them. I was scared because I didn’t want to put anybody in a situation where they would either feel pressured or nervous or that they might get COVID, so some of them were willing to not wear the mask indoors and we were super strict.

Paolo Javier: Yeah, we had these deliberations several times and when Lynne made the call to do it, [she] had made an earlier call to pause it, and then said, “No, let’s just do it.” And following through was contingent on how we all felt when everybody gathered. It’s when we all got together and we were all outside of the space and just checked in to see how we were all feeling. That was empowering for me [because] you always take a risk, and it’s a legitimate consideration and a concern, but I trusted Lynne and I trusted everybody [else].

Lynne Sachs: We gave everybody a low pressure option not to show up.

Paolo Javier: Yes, that was really important. But they all showed up and I think they were excited and the shoot started off rainy and grey and drizzly and then the sun came out later in the afternoon and the community was out and it’s just beautiful, what Lynne was able to capture.

Lynne Sachs: One of my favorite moments was the end of the day we were in this playground park and all of a sudden all these middle-aged Filipino men show up and they all had prepared food and they put out this big spread…

Paolo Javier: Yeah, it was a picnic. They had pancit and lumpia and they meet there every Sunday.

Lynne Sachs: And then they offered the food to everyone in our production. That’s like 12 people.

Paolo Javier: They had enough and then some! [laughs]

“Swerve” will screen at BAMCinemafest as part of Shorts Program 2 on June 26th at 1:30 pm.

Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of June 24 – ‘Swerve’ / Sun This Week

Short Redhead Reel Reviews for the week of June 24
Sun This Week
By Wendy Schadewald
June 23, 2022

Rating system:  (4=Don’t miss, 3=Good, 2=Worth a look, 1=Forget it)

For more reviews, click here

“The Black Phone” (R) (3) [Violence, bloody images,a some drug use, and language.] [Opens June 24 in theaters.] — When a smart, bullied, doggedly determined, 13-year-old baseball pitcher (Mason Thames), who lives with an abusive, alcoholic. widowed father (Jeremy Davies) and his feisty, psychic sister (Madeleine McGraw), who sees visions in her dreams, is kidnapped by a devil-mask-wearing killer (Ethan Hawke) known as the Grabber and held in a soundproof basement in North Denver in 1978 in Scott Derrickson’s taut, original, tension-filled, well-acted, suspenseful, twisting, 102-minute, 2021 thriller based on Joe Hill’s 2004 short story, he quickly starts to receive calls from a disconnected black phone the killer’s previous victims (Tristan Pravong, Miguel Cazarez Mora, Jacob “Gaven” Wilde, Jordan Isaiah White, and Brady Hepner) who give him advice and tips on escaping while detectives (E. Roger Mitchell and Robert Fortunato) search for the missing Colorado students.

“Cured” (NR) (3.5) [Played June 17 as part of AARP’s Movies for Grownups and available on Amazon Prime Video and various VOD platforms.] — Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer’s gripping, award-winning, eye-opening, educational, powerful, candid, insightful, 80-minute, 2020 documentary that examines homosexuality as a mental illness, the use of various treatments to cure the condition, and the American Psychiatric Association’s decision in 1973 to remove it as a mental disorder in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” and consists of archival photographs, film clips, and interview snippets with minister and activist Dr. Magora Kennedy, APA Nomenclature Committee member Robert Campbell, psychiatrists (such as Dr. Lawrence Hartmann, Dr. Richard Pillard, Dr. Richard Green, Dr. Charles Socarides [archival footage], Dr. Irving Bieber, Dr. Judd Marmor [archival footage], and Dr. Jerry Lewis [archival footage]), APA CEO and medical director Dr. Saul Levin, psychologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker (archival footage), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) patients Rick Stokes and Sally Duplaix, photographer and activist Kay Lahusen, writer and activist Gary Alinder, activists Don Kilhefner and Barbara Gittings (voiceover and archival footage), astronomer and activist Dr. Frank Kameny (voiceover and archival footage), journalist and activist Ronald Gold, Dr. Charles Socarides’ son Richard Socarides, Dr. John Fryer’s friend Harry Adamson, Dr. John Fryer (voiceover and archival footage), and psychologist, activist, and former schoolteacher Charles Silverstein.

“Elvis” (PG-13) (3.5) [Suggestive material, smoking, substance abuse, and strong language.] [Opens June 24 in theaters.] — Superb acting, costumes, and makeup dominate Baz Luhrmann’s entertaining, factually inspired, captivating, over-the-top, well-written, star-studded (David Wenham, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anthony LaPaglia, Xavier Samuel, Luke Bracey, Kate Mulvany, and Nicholas Bell), 159-minute biographical film in which legendary, talented, charismatic, gyrating, rock’n’roll singer Elvis Presley grows up as an inquisitive boy (Chaydon Jay) in a Black neighborhood in Tupelo, Miss., with his alcoholic mother (Helen Thomson) and felon father (Richard Roxburgh); Black influences on his music and his rise to fame orchestrated by his dysfunctional relationship as an outspoken singer (Austin Butler) with Carnival-educated, gambling-addicted, duplicitous manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) who cheated him financially for more than 20 years; and his marriage to Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge) who he met overseas while in the Army.

“Escape the Field” (R) (2) [Violence and language.] [Available June 21 on DVD and Blue-Ray.] — After six frightened strangers (Shane West, Jordan Claire Robbins, Theo Rossi, Tahirah Sharif, Elena Juatco, and Julian Feder) suddenly regain consciousness in a remote, perpetual, trap-filled cornfield, which is guarded by a creepy scarecrow, with sirens blaring and left with only a single-bullet gun, a container of matches, a lantern, a knife, a compass, and a flask of water in Emerson Moore’s convoluted, tension-filled, violent, 88-minute psychological thriller with overly dark visuals, they struggle to work together to find a way out while being stalked by a menacing, mysterious creature (Dillon Jagersky) at every turn.

“Fast Five” (R) (3) [Intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content, and language.] [DVD and VOD only] — While a hulking, tenacious, special FBI agent (Dwayne Johnson) and his task force team up with a rookie Brazilian cop (Elsa Pataky) to track down an escaped convict in Brazil after three agents are murdered during a three-car heist from a moving train in this frenetic-paced, action-filled, entertaining film packed with car crashes and stunning choreography, three felon professional drivers (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Jordana Brewster) and their cohorts (Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal-Gadot, et al.) plan an elaborate, dangerous $100 million robbery from a ruthless drug dealer (Joaquim de Almeida) and his henchmen (Michael Irby, et al.) in Rio de Janeiro.

“Jumping the Broom” (PG-13) (2.5) [Some sexual content.] [DVD and VOD only]— Tensions escalate, tempers flare, secrets are revealed, and nuptials are threatened in this engaging, predictable, romantic, star-studded (Julie Brown, T.D. Jakes, Gary Dourdan, Pooch Hall, et al.) click-flick drama when a widowed, feisty postal worker (Loretta Devine) with anger management issues leaves Brooklyn with her best friend (Tasha Smith), her flirty brother-in-law (Mike Epps), and the best man (DeRay Davis) to meet the beautiful fiancée (Paula Patton) her handsome, successful son (Laz Alonso) is about to marry, along with the bride’s wealthy parents (Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell) and other wedding guests (Meagan Good, Valarie Pettiford, Romeo, et al.) during a weekend of celebratory festivities before the wedding on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Paid in Blood” (R) (3) [Subtitled] [Available June 26 on various digital platforms.] — Bodies drop like flies in Yoon Youngbin’s gripping, action-packed, fast-paced, dark, blood-soaked, violent, 118-minute, 2021 noir crime thriller with awesome fight choreography in which a ruthless, ambitious, power-hungry, former South Korean assassin (Jang Hyuk) from Seoul pits rival gangs against each other when he decides to challenge powerful, knife-wielding members (Yoo Oh Sung, Oh Dae Hwan, et al.) of a crime ring in 2017 after he learns that they are building the largest casino in Asia in Gangneung, and the crime lord (Kim Se Joon) then puts a target on his back while a Korean lieutenant detective (Park Sung Keun) tries to protect his gangster friend and to control the escalating mayhem and murders.

“Potato Dreams of America” (NR) (3) [Available June 21 on Blu-ray™.] — Wes Hurley’s weird, factually based, award-winning, coming-of-age, arty, twist-filled, wit-dotted, unpredictable, 95-minute, 2021 autobiographical comedy in which a struggling, wannabe-actor, movie-loving, gay student (Hersh Powers/Carter Coonrod) grows up in the USSR in the 1980s with his compassionate, open-minded, prison doctor/actress mother (Sera Barbieri) and ends up as a teenager (Tyler Bocock) moving with her to Seattle to the disappointment of his father (Michael Place) and grandmother (Lauren Tewes) when she becomes a mail-order bride (Marya Sea Kaminski) to a duplicitous, conservative American (Dan Lauria) and finds happiness with various lovers (Nick Sage Palmieri, Cameron Lee Price, Aaron Jin, Bailey Thiel, Dexter Morgenstern, Drew Highlands, Dylan Smith, and Randy Phillips) after he comes out of the closet and is free to be himself.

 “Swedish Auto” (NR) (3) [DVD and VOD only]— A touching, sad, 2006 film in which a shy, music-loving mechanic (Lukas Haas), who works with the kindhearted owner (Lee Weaver) and an African-American mechanic (Christ Williams) at a small-town garage in California, pines for an out-of-reach violinist (Brianne Davis) while getting closer to a beautiful waitress (January Jones) who lives with her mother (Anne Brown) and her abusive, cancer-stricken boyfriend (Tim De Zarn).

 “There Be Dragons” (PG-13) (3) [Violence and combat sequences, some language, and thematic elements.] [DVD and VOD only]— While a journalist (Dougray Scott) travels to Madrid to gather information for a historical epic set against the violent backdrop of the Spanish Civil War in 1918 about the life of St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (Charlie Fox), who founded the Roman Catholic Opus Dei and was later canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002, in this poignant, compelling, factually inspired, colorful, 2-hour film highlighted by striking cinematography, he is shocked to learn that his own terminally-ill, estranged father (Wes Bentley) was a childhood friend of the priest who sought peace through the beauty of everyday life, but they became bitter enemies when he fought as a soldier in war-torn Spain and ended up being driven by his jealous anger after becoming smitten with and rejected by a gorgeous Hungarian (Olga Kurylenko) who falls for another Spaniard (Rodrigo Santoro).

“This Prison Where I Live” (NR) (3) [DVD and VOD only] — Veteran documentarian filmmaker Rex Bloomstein narrates his eye-opening, informative, poignant 2010 documentary about popular, feisty, courageous, outspoken standup Burmese comedian, film star, poet, and playwright Zarganar (aka Maung Thura) from Yangon, Burma, who was sentenced by the oppressive military junta in Sept. 2007 to serve 3 weeks in prison for his support of the monks during the Saffron Revolution and again in 2008 to serve 59 years (reduced to 35 years) for his continual satire of the tyrannical government, censorship, life in Burma, and speaking to the press about the government’s shortcomings after Hurricane Nargis; famous standup German comedian Michael Mittermeier joins the filmmaker in a return to Burma to gain further insight to Zarganar’s current plight and to showcase Myitkyina Prison in which he now resides.

“Twisted Roots” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] [DVD and VOD only] — While a suicidal, terminally-ill, Finnish antiques store owner (Pertti Sveholm), who has a free-spirited 16-year-old daughter (Emma Louhivuori) and an imaginative, adopted daughter (Silva Robbins) from China, tries to tell his biological children about his inherited, debilitating, degenerative disease and to reconnect with his estranged adult son (Niko Saarela) and young grandson (Leo Leppäaho) in this gut-wrenching, down-to-earth, 2009 film, his distraught, financially strapped wife (Milka Ahlroth) tries to figure out to raise $150,000 Euros due to the reckless spending of her brother (Jarkko Pajunen) without burdening her husband. 

The following films play June 23-30 at BAMcinemaFest 2022 at BAM Rose Cinemas; for more information, log on to

“Actual People” (NR) (2.5)  — Kit Zauhar’s realistic, down-to-earth, low-budget, predictable, 84-minute, 2021 film in which an apathetic, emotionally distraught, anxious, constantly complaining, philosophy major, biracial Asian-American college student (Kit Zauhar), who was dumped by her boyfriend (Randall Palmer) of three years in New York City and then asked by her roommate (Henry Fulton Winship) to move out, wastes time partying and hanging out in bars, engaging in one-night stands, and pursuing an Asian man (Scott Albrecht) from her hometown of Philadelphia rather than trying to keep focused to finish her coursework in order to graduate and make plans for the future and not causing her concerned parents (Shirley Huang and Richard Lyntton) more worry. 

“Alma’s Rainbow” (NR) (3) — When her eccentric, wild, free-spirited lounge singing aunt (Mizan Kirby) unexpectedly shows up after spending 10 years performing in Paris in Ayoka Chenzira’s engaging, multifaceted, well-acted, coming-of-age, humorous, 90-minute, 1993 film highlighted by terrific costumes, a feisty, rebellious, Brooklyn student (Victoria Gabrielle Platt), who gets into trouble with the nuns at the Catholic school, entering puberty gets help and advice from her estranged aunt in her relationship struggles with her strict, conservative, straitlaced salon owner mother (Kim Weston-Moran) and about a boy (Lee Dobson) she likes.

“The Body Is a House of Familiar Rooms” (NR) (3.5) — Stunning imagery dominates Eloise Sherrid and Lauryn Welch’s compelling, colorful, creative, imaginative, artistic, informative, 10-minute, 2021 documentary that intertwines gorgeous artwork by painter Lauryn Welch, live-action footage, and commentary by Eloise Sherrid and girlfriend Lauryn to try describe the day-to-day life of Samuel Geiger who has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects connective tissue and nerves in the body that “vibrates with pain” and the smoking of marijuana that partially relieves his symptoms and improves mobility and functionality. 

“Chee$e” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] — After an ambitious, perpetually broke apprentice cheesemaker (Akil Williams) learns his craft from a kindhearted master cheesemaker (Piero Guerini) in Trinidad and Tobago and then discovers that his girlfriend (Yidah Leonard), who is the daughter of a religious restaurant owner (Binta Ford), is pregnant in Damian Marcano’s quirky, award-winning, well-acted, humor-dotted, 105-minute film highlighted by wonderful cinematography, he must abandon his dream of leaving the island and concocts a plan to work with the local drug dealer (Trevison Pantin) to earn money by selling marijuana with his friend (Julio Prince) by hiding it in blocks of cheese while becoming suspicious targets of a tenacious police sergeant (Kevin Ash).

“Crows Are White” (NR) (3) — Amazing cinematography and landscapes highlight Ahsen Nadeem’s captivating, poignant, touching, thought-provoking, educational, 97-minute documentary in which L.A.-based filmmaker goes to mist-enveloped monastery atop Mt. Hiei near Kyoto, Japan, to gain insight, answers, and direction from Tendai “marathon” monks, including head Buddhist monk Kamahori, who put their bodies and minds through unimaginable, tortuous suffering and pain, such as the Kaihōgyō ritual where monks walk 1,000 days without food or sleep, to reach Nirvana, regarding his personal struggles with life and religion and his dishonesty and conflict with his estranged devout-Muslim Pakistani parents who live in Ireland and are unaware of his 3-year marriage to his patient, non-Muslim wife (Dawn Light Blackman) and gains a meaningful friendship with wannabe-sheep-farming, heavy-metal-loving, dessert-obsessed, calligraphy-writing, unorthodox, apprentice monk Ryushin when his is expelled from the 1,200-year-old monastery. 

“The Feeling of Being Close to You” (NR) (3) [Partially subtitled] — Ash Goh Hua’s engaging, heartbreaking, realistic, poignant, heartwarming, 12-minute autobiographical film in which the Singapore filmmaker examines the longtime dysfunction in her family while growing up with her abusive mother she was unable to hug and now tries to connect both physically and emotionally through the use of intimate conversations, phone calls, and videotapes with her distant mother that she was unable to do as a young girl.

“Ferny & Luca” (NR) (1) — The plot takes a backseat in Andrew Infante’s bizarre, slow-paced, award-winning, avant-garde, redundant, low-budget, 70-minute, 2021 film in which a handsome, unemployed, money-strapped Brooklynite (Leonidas Ocampo) falls for a free-spirited, ambitious, wannabe singer DJ (Lauren Kelisha Muller), who commiserates about her troubles with a close friend (Alexa Harrington), but their tumultuous relationship seems to go nowhere. 

“Happer’s Comet” (NR) (1) — Nothing happens in Tyler Taormina’s experimental, nonsensical, dialogue-free, oddball, surreal, dark, 62-minute film that follows an eclectic group of people, including a woman (Gianina Galatro) meeting a lover (Jax Terry) in a cornfield, a dog-walking insomniac (Dan Carolan), an old woman (Grace Berlino) resting at her kitchen table, a driver (Michael Guglielmo) falling asleep at the wheel, a rollerskater (Tim Sullivan) going around the neighborhood, and a rollerblader (Tyler Taormina) traversing the sidewalks, in the middle of the night on Long Island.

“Last Days of August” (NR) (2) — Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian’s morose, award-winning, depressing, arty, unexpected, 13-minute documentary that showcases dilapidated stores and broken down vehicles to emphasize the death of small towns in Nebraska as residents discuss their frustration, anger, and helplessness from experiencing the pain of life passing them by and the realization that they are powerless to combat the many things that are making life miserable, which causes some people to turn to religion, crackpot theories, and blaming others, and how big box stores such as Walmart and Costco, the advent of the Internet, and the rise of Amazon have put a dagger in the heart of small towns. 

ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (Udeyonv) (What They’ve Been Taught)” (NR) (3.5) — Awesome scenery and cinematography dominate Brit Hensel’s intriguing, heartwarming, inspirational, educational, 9-minute documentary, which was filmed on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina and in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, that examines through storyteller Thomas Belt how the Cherokee people try to be responsible as they live in this world so that it’s a give and take with nature.

“Portal” (NR) (3.5) — Rodney Evans’ captivating, poetic, down-to-earth, poignant, candid, 12-minute documentary that follows single filmmaker Rodney Evans who used striking poetry to stay connected with the outside world and his friend Homay King used other communication venues while she struggled with loneliness and isolation as she recovered from unconfirmed COVID-19 during the pandemic in 2020.

“Shut Up and Paint” (NR) (3) — Titus Kaphar and Alex Mallis’ engaging, award-winning, original, inspirational, 20-minute documentary that showcases the historically relevant paintings of talented African-American artist Titus Kaphar and the futile efforts of art critics to stop the activist who is involved in promoting racial justice and equality from speaking out through his artwork and includes commentary by Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley.

“Sirens” (NR) (2.5) — Heavy trash metal music highlights Rita Baghdadi’s award-winning, insightful, inspirational, behind-the-scenes, 78-minute vérité style documentary that follows the friendship and struggles of twentysomething songwriters and guitarists Lilas Mayassi, who has a Syrian girlfriend Alaa, and Shery Bechara who cofounded the five-member (guitarist Lilas Mayassi, guitarist Shery Bechara, vocalist Maya Khairallah, bassist Alma Doumani, and drummer Tatyana Boughaba), heavy thrash metal Lebanese band Slave to Sirens in Beirut, Lebanon, amidst political turmoil, explosions, homophobia, ongoing anti-government protests, and culture constraints.

“Swerve” (NR) (3) [Subtitled] — Lynne Sachs’ intriguing, original, arty, well-written, 8-minute film in which performers Emmy Catedral, Ray Ferreira, Inney Prakash, Jeff Preiss, and Juliana Sass recite Paolo Javier’s Original Brown Boy poems from “Nightboat Books” as they wander around a food market and playground in Queens, New York.

“When It’s Good, It’s Good” (NR) (2.5) — Alejandra Vasquez’s educational, disheartening, gritty, down-to-earth, 16-minute documentary in which the filmmaker goes home to Denver City, Texas, to document the ups and downs of the fluctuating oil business and its devastating effect on the West Texas town’s population through interview clips with locals, including district attorney Bill Helwig, truck driver Arturo, teenager Dezy, and housewife Claudia.

“Winn” (NR) (3.5) — Joseph East and Erica Tanamachi’s gripping, educational, surprising, 17-minute documentary that chronicles the valiant efforts of Georgia activist and RestoreHER founder Pamela Winn, who was formerly incarcerated and pregnant, to pass in 2019 the HB345 Dignity Bill to legally stop the solitary confinement and shackling of imprisoned pregnant convicts in Georgia and in 2018 the First Step Act prohibiting shackling of pregnant women on the federal level.

Wendy Schadewald is a Burnsville resident. 

New Lynne Sachs Short “Swerve” Debuts at BAMcinemaFest / Mystery Catalog

New Lynne Sachs Short “Swerve” Debuts at BAMcinemaFest
Mystery Catalog
Herbert Gambill
June 23, 2022

“Swerve,” a new short film by experimental and documentary filmmaker Lynne Sachs will debut this Sunday, June 26 as part of a second program of shorts at BAMcinemaFest in Brooklyn. Go here for ticket information.

Sachs, who has made dozens of films in a variety of genres since the mid-80’s, is perhaps best known for her 2020 feature documentary about the life of her father, “Film About A Father Who.” Also a poet, her work often combines poems, essayistic narration, collaborations with non-filmmakers and autobiographical content. (Her brother Ira is also a filmmaker.) In “Swerve” she has taken a book of poetry, “O.B.B.” (or “Original Brown Boy”) by Paolo Javier, and reacted to it by having Javier and five other performers read lines from the book during a visit to the Hong Kong Food Market in the Queens borough of New York City.

“O.B.B.,” published by Nightboat Books in 2021, is not a conventional book of poetry. For 276 pages, Javier and illustrators Alex Tarampi and Ernest Concepcion combined words with collages based on D.I.Y. techniques like “the Mimeo revolution,” Kamishibai street theater and Surrealist cut-up aesthetics. Born in the Phillipines, Paolo has lived in Queens since 1999 and was the poet laureate of that borough from 2010-2014. With “O.B.B.” he used this techno comix format to reflect on topics like America’s continuing colonization of the Phillipines and other countries and his Filipinx identity. It was also heavily influenced by the work of the late Canadian poet ​​Barrie Phillip Nichol (AKA bpNichol).

In an interview for the Filmwax Radio podcast, Lynne said her idea for the film was to have a small number of “performers” visit a food court in Queens, the most internationally diverse place in the country and a borough also famous for its vast selection of cuisines. She wanted the multilingual cast to read the poems “as if poetry itself was a language.” In the same interview Javier explained the title of the short. In Lucretius’s ancient poem “De rerum natura” (On the Nature of Things) he proposed that atoms have a tendency to swerve randomly and that this accounts for the free will of humans. (Literary scholar Harold Bloom later used “clinamen”–Lucretius’s name for this phenomenon–”to describe the inclinations of writers to swerve from the influence of their predecessors.”)

In the seven minute film, five performers visit Hong Kong Food Market, an Asian food court located in Elmhurst, Queens and the nearby Moore Homestead playground. Shot during the time of the Delta variant of Covid, many of those seen are wearing masks. This was also a time when many local businesses failed because of the pandemic. Quite a few in the food court are boarded up and only a few customers are seen eating there.

These performers (plus Javier) speak lines from “O.B.B.” while exploring the location. “Emboggled minds may puff and blow and guess,” artist and curator Emmy Catedral says and Sachs has the three verbs in that phrase appear on the screen. Actress Juliana Sass sits on a bench outside of the Elmhurst subway stop to read her lines; ray ferreira and Javier visit the playground to perform. Filmmaker Jeff Preiss (who has words from the book written on his mask) and film curator Inney Prakash order grilled pork sandwiches while trading lines such as, “Already imposing 5’6 Wil E. Coyote.” Later, in the park, Prakash seems to sum up a key point of the work by saying, “Adore your endless monologue.” The film ends with a waving Maneki-neko (lucky or beckoning cat) in a store window that may be a reference to Chris Marker’s masterful “Sans Soleil.” (And Javier and Sachs both cite film director Wong Kar-wai as an inspiration, especially the food courts inside Chungking Mansions seen in his 1994 film “Chungking Express.”)

“Swerve” is a lovely, serene cinematic meditation on postmodern/avant-garde/post-colonial poetry construction in general and specifically it’s a terrific incitement to read Javier’s book and seek out more of Sachs’s fascinating body of work.

Besides this intriguing collaboration, four other films will be shown at BAMcinemaFest’s second collection of shorts. The total running time for the program is 73 minutes and there will be Q&A’s with the artists afterwards.

Sachs and Javier are also doing a poetry reading and book signing this Friday, June 24. Details can be found here. Earlier this month, the two discussed their collaboration on an episode of the podcast “Filmwax Radio.” Go here to listen or watch.

‘SWERVE’: NYC performers wax poetic in a new film shot in Elmhurst / Queens News Service

‘SWERVE’: NYC performers wax poetic in a new film shot in Elmhurst Queens News Service
By Tammy Scileppi 
June 23, 2022

Have you ever experienced an entire film in verse, in which five New York City performers wax poetic, and recite poetry instead of reading from a script?

One of Queens’ most diverse neighborhoods became the real-life setting for a new boundary-crushing film by director Lynne Sachs. You can see Elmhurst’s bustling Asian food market, called HK Food Court, filled with vendors serving up mouth-watering eats, and located across the street is another popular spot, where locals and their kids like to hang out: Moore Homestead Playground. Both are featured in the filmmaker’s newest cinematic offering, titled “SWERVE,” which was inspired by Queens’ former Poet Laureate (2010–2014) Paolo Javier’s “Original Brown Boy” poems.

This indie short, which world premieres/screens at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) this Sunday, June 26, at 1:30 p.m., — followed by a Q&A — was shot entirely in Elmhurst, in local parks streets, and the HK Food Court. Tickets are on sale now: BAM | BAMcinemaFest Shorts Program 2.

“’Swerve’ engages with language in a distinctly poetic way. While the setting of the food market in Elmhurst is as real as can be, the words that my performers speak emerge from the work of Paolo Javier,” Sachs noted, adding, “Each performer memorized one of Paolo’s sonnets from his new book “OBB/ Original Brown Boy” (Nightbook, 2021.) Then they spoke the poems to one another as if they were communicating in verse.”

Sachs explained that her film embraces Paolo’s poetry by “tugging his language away from its book form” and into daily life.

“This all happens in an extraordinarily dynamic and diverse part of NYC, where a plethora of languages dance and swim around us. The ‘swerve’ in language is the acceptance of difference in the face of routine and formula,” she said.

The Brooklyn-based filmmaker previously noted that she views life through the creative lens of a painter/poet. That winning combo has given rise to a series of experimental and avant-garde works exploring her own family life, as well as histories of personal, social and political trauma, marginalized communities and a variety of other intriguing topics.

Last January, the director’s film about her enigmatic dad’s life and loves, titled “Film About a Father Who,” was highlighted in the Museum of the Moving Image’s Virtual Cinema, in Astoria as part of a 20-film online retrospective of the artist’s celebrated body of work, which spans more than three decades.

“The first time I read Javier’s sonnets from his new 2021 book, I started to hear them in my head, cinematically. In my imagination, each of his 14-line poems became the vernacular expressions of people walking through a food market full of distinct restaurant stalls,” Sachs recalled, adding that she had re-watched Wong Kar-wai’s film “Happy Together,” a favorite of hers and Javier’s, and immediately thought of that food court in Elmhurst, a gathering spot for immigrant and working-class people from the neighborhood.

“As we all know, restaurant owners and workers experienced enormous economic hardship during New York City’s pandemic. Nevertheless, the market and the playground become vital locations for the shooting of this film, inspired by Javier’s exhilarating writing.”

Together, they invited local performers and artists Emmy Catedral and ray ferriera from Queens, NYC-based creatives Jeff Preiss and Inney Prakash, as well as Brooklynite Juliana Sass to participate in a challenging yet playful endeavor. In the film, each performer devours Paolo’s sonnets, along with a meal from one of the market vendors.

“Wearing the tell-tale masks of our daunting now, they speak his words as both dialogue and monologue,” Sachs continued. “Like Lucretius’s ancient poem “De rerum natura/On the Nature of Things,” they move through the market as Epicureans, searching for something to eat and knowing that finding the right morsel might very well deliver a new sensation.”

The camera records it all.

“‘Swerve’ then becomes an ars poetica/cinematica, a seven-minute meditation on writing and making images in the liminal space between a global pandemic and what might come next,” Sachs added.

The film took one day to shoot in HD video and Super 8mm film — in August 2021 — during the first few days of the Delta variant.

“It was only a few days before our scheduled shooting day that NYC returned to wearing masks indoors. Still, our determination and commitment persisted, and we simply integrated the tell-tale masks of our moment into the fabric of the film,” Sachs noted, adding, “It had to be that way!”

“Shot in Elmhurst, a richly diverse immigrant space that saw its residents endure our country’s ground zero phase of COVID-19, ‘Swerve’ brings tremendous visibility to an Asian food court and workers, otherwise invisible and ignored by the city,” Javier said. “Together, we all honor the resiliency of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, underscoring the vitality of poetry and cinema in these fraught times.”

Performer Emmy Catedral, a native of the Philippines and a Queens-raised artist and curator, chose to recite one of Javier’s poems, called “Sun and Moon Chilis.”

“Lynne’s film is in response to Paolo’s work, which is absolutely singular and expansive,” she noted. “Paolo is also one of my closest friends and collaborators, so I had to say ‘yes’ to being a part of this. It’s a collaboration among friends. I was excited to be among this fantastic cast that included ray ferreira; she grew up in Corona.”

What does “Swerve” mean to you?

“The film celebrates the possibilities of language through Paolo’s beautiful book. It’s impossible for me to not think about language in the context of Elmhurst — the countless ones spoken here, the language justice work people have been doing and the emergency of translation that wasn’t coming quickly enough from the government; the mutual aid translation that people did for each other as the pandemic was unfolding,” Catedral continued.

“I cannot say enough about this neighborhood because it’s my environment, and I feel the neighborhood itself. I feel its grief. I grew up here. My friends and I loitered in the playground after junior high. The HK Food Court holds memories of being with my family. I went to HK for spicy fish soup laced with chilis, and other side flavor bombs. In the ’90s, across the street on Broadway, I’d get haircuts at a salon called Rosa’s with my mother and sisters.”

Talking about the current status of HK Food Court, Catedral told QNS that she recently passed by and it remains open. Many of the vendors — in fact, all of the featured businesses in the film — are no longer in operation, but it seems there are new tenants keeping the food market open, with a slightly different configuration, according to the performer.

Jeff Preiss, another “Swerve” performer, said that he never felt he was playing a character or a role.

“I projected a fantasized meaning onto the circumstance we inhabited, where Paolo’s and Lynne’s poetics were routine commonplace frameworks,” he explained.

“I am a director and a filmmaker, but to take part in another filmmaker’s project, among friends, produces a kind of effervescent joy. It was through the production that I met Paolo and was introduced to his work. Important events, to say the least! Being allowed a personal ownership of his text was beautiful…getting to where I felt I could imprint myself into his writing, was of itself a swerving journey.”

“It’s an intoxicating, vertiginous title…like a swooping course to avoid catastrophe, unscathed,” Preiss added.
“And by the way, Queens is exactly what I dream New York should be.”

Cine Poetics screenings + “Sanctuary & Apocalypse” Summer Writing Program / Naropa Institute

Cine Poetics screenings and “Sanctuary & Apocalypse” Summer Writing Program
Naropa Institute
Curated by Anne Waldman and Diana Lizette Rodriguez
June 21, 2022

Cine Poetics: “He Ain’t Ever Coming Back That Blonde Hair Jesus”

Naropa Performing Arts Center
June 21, 2022

Akilah Oliver Three Readings – Ed Bowes
Fantasma – Emma Gomis
Poets Temple – No Land
Task of the Translator – Lynne Sachs
Skid Bid – Natalia Gaia
Acción Fértil – Lucía Hinojosa
Ancient Rain – Lumia
La Tierra Era de Nadie – Sofía Peypoch
She Got Love – Carolina Ebeid
Emerging – Mary Shoen
Carrier Waves – Diana Lizette
Maria – Jose Antonio Hinojosa

Curated by Anne Waldman and Diana Lizette Rodriguez

Summer Writing Program: “Sanctuary & Apocalypse”

At its root apocalypse means “out from the hidden,” thus one enduring English translation of αποκάλυψη has been “revelation.” And because it has also named a genre of prophetic writings, catastrophe and disaster have always shadowed the word, and obscured the real of history with an ideology that holds the catastrophe of this or that war is exceptional, that the emergence of the novel corona virus pandemic was an unforeseeable event, rather than an inevitability of the ceaseless engine of capitalism pressing against every limit of global ecology. As Benjamin writes in the eighth thesis on history: “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule.” So our apocalypse is in part a refusal, a refusal to be amazed, and stupefied, to be mystified while the forces of reaction extract, exploit, and profit.

Sanctuary might in fact start within the many acts of refusal needed to become a living community, society, or congregation, And sanctuary is surely within the radical forms of interdependence that animates our best dreams for collective being, and the truest understandings of global ecology––and you see it in the eye-beam branching entanglement of tree––oracle––bat––squirrel––owl––fawn––sky––sea within Kiki Smith’s “Congregation,” which is the image we’ve chosen as the signal icon for our collective undertaking. What follows, what are the ramifications––etymologically to form branches––from seeing sanctuary in these lights; what are the other aspects dimensions, and directions of sanctuary that need to be brought out from the hidden in order to truly imagine and materialize credible forms of rest, refuge, and safety in this world; how can we live up to the sense of artistic vocation that Etel Adnan indicates when she writes: “We are all the contemplatives of an on-going apocalypse

As start to these questions we invoke the necessary and alchemical possibilities of coming together in community–––all the more crucial after years of isolation and separation enforced by the pandemic; and we invite writers, and students, and thinkers, and performers to continue the lines of critical voicing, creative work, and spiritual sensibility that have defined the Summer Writing Program since 1974.

The text to inspire this year’s discussion and prompts is We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat).

Boulder Book Store, the bookseller for SWP, will have these available at the book fairs during SWP (Each Tuesday at noon, and Fridays after Collqiuium), or for pick up at their location.

About Naropa

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, liberal arts university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, education, environmental studies, peace studies, psychology, and religious studies.

Buddhist-inspired and nonsectarian, Naropa University is rooted in contemplative education, a teaching and learning approach that integrates Eastern wisdom studies and the arts with traditional Western scholarship. Naropa was the birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement.

A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture / Minizoom Lynne Sachs: Short film curated selection

Minizoom Lynne Sachs: Short film curated selection
A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture
Bratislava, Slovenia
curated by Barbora Nemčeková
June 22, 2022

Director: Lynne Sachs, ENG + ENG subtitles
Lynne Sachs is an American filmmaker and poet who focuses on documentary and short experimental films, film essays and live performances. Her work often pushes on the boundaries of genre, relying on a feminist approach and an introspective form to explore the complex relationship between personal observation and universal historical experience. She is interested in the implicit connection between body, camera and the materiality of film. She has produced a body of more than 40 films, several installations and hybrid performances. Our selection will feature the short film A Month of Single Frames (2020), which Sachs has made for legendary American experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer and which earned the main prize at last year’s International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, as well as her piece Maya at 24, screened for the ‘Fascinations’ section at Ji.hlava IDFF 2021.

Films screened
Following the Object to its Logical Beginning
The House of Science: A Museum of False Facts
Carolee, Barbara and Gunvor
Month of Single Frames
Maya at 24
Window Work

About us
A4 – Space for Contemporary Culture is an independent cultural centre focusing on contemporary forms of professional theatre, dance, music, film, visual art and new media. Established in 2004 as a result of a joint effort between several civic cultural organisations, it became one of the first cultural centres in Slovakia founded by a bottom-up initiative. Since its beginning, A4 has been a vivid and active location on the Central European cultural scene, an open field for creative experimentation as well as a home for fresh and unique experiences. Besides presenting innovative contemporary art, it actively supports the new creative activities and education. A4 engages in public debate on important social issues, and attempts to foster conditions for non-commercial cultural activities, culturing of public space, urban development, etc.

Lynne Sachs’ “Film Strip Tease” / Hoosac Institute

Lynne Sachs’ “Film Strip Tease”
Hoosac Institute
Written and performed by Lynne Sachs
June 18, 2022

Dedicated to Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema
Performed live on April 9, 2022 with accompanying video at 992 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California

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, Craig Baldwin’s film archive, 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.

The Hoosac Institute is a curated platform for text and image focusing on pieces that don’t fit conventional disciplinary narratives.

Ep 722: Lynne Sachs & Paolo Javier on ‘Swerve’ • Rebeca Huntt / Filmwax Radio

Ep 722: Lynne Sachs & Paolo Javier • Rebeca Huntt
Filmwax Radio
Lynne Sachs and Paolo Javier in conversation with Adam Schartoff
June 17, 2022

Ep 722: Lynne Sachs & Paolo Javier • Rebeca Huntt

The experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs returns to Fimwax to discuss her latest work, “Swerve” which screens at BAMcinemaFest this month. She’s joined by poet Paolo Javier. And the director of a new intimate & experimental documentary called “Beba”, Rebeca Huntt makes her first appearance.

Experimental filmmaker Lynne Sachs makes her 5th appearance on Filmwax with her latest short work of non-fiction, “Swerve”. She’s joined by former Queens Poet Laureate Paolo Javier who leant his poetry to the film. A food market and playground in Queens, NY becomes the site for this film inspired by Paolo Javier’s Original Brown Boy poems. The film itself transforms into an ars poetica/cinematica—a meditation on writing and making images in the liminal space between a global pandemic and what might come next—as five New York City performers speak in verse while wandering through food stalls in search of a new sensation.  “Swerve” gets its festival premiere at BAMcinemaFest on Sunday, June 26th, at BAM in Brooklyn.

Filmmaker Rebeca Huntt makes her first appearance on Filmwax with her first feature film, “Beba” —also quite experimental in its approach— which is currently screening at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be having its theatrical in NYC & LA beginning Friday, June 24th. With “Beba”, Huntt undertakes an unflinching exploration of her own identity in the remarkable coming-of-age documentary/cinematic memoir BEBA. Reflecting on her childhood an adolescence in New York City as the daughter of a Dominican father and Venezuelan mother, Huntt investigates the historical, societal, and generational trauma she’s inherited and ponders how those ancient wounds have shaped her, while simultaneously considering the universal truths that connect us all as humans. Throughout BEBA, Huntt searches for a way to forge her own creative path amid a landscape of intense racial and political unrest. Poetic, powerful and profound, BEBA is a courageous, deeply human self-portrait of an Afro-Latina artist hungry for knowledge and yearning for connection.

Filmwax Radio is America’s favorite podcast featuring luminaries from the indie film community. Guests include actors, filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists and just about anyone else with a stake in the game. Listeners can expect engaging and nuanced conversations.

Hosted by Adam Schartoff, Filmwax Radio began in September of 2011 and has had thousands of guests over the years, many of whom make a point of returning over and over.

Interview with Lynne Sachs / Costa Rica International Film Festival, Lynne Sachs Retrospective

Interview with Lynne Sachs
Costa Rica International Film Festival, Lynne Sachs Retrospective
Interviewed by Roberto Jaén – Director, Curator of the Preambulo project of the Costa Rican Center for Film Production
June 17, 2022

The American filmmaker and poet Lynne Sachs was honored by the tenth edition of the Costa Rica International Film Festival. 10CRFIC paid tribute to Sachs in a retrospective on her work featuring 14 of her films, characterized by Sachs’ poetic, intimate, experimental and reflective tone. In this interview, she tells us how she began her craft and her love for cinema.

Executive Production: Film Center of the Ministry of Culture
Production Coordinator: Vania Alvarado
Producer: Luis Alonso Alvarez
Photography: Jorge Jaramillo
Camera assistant: Diego Hidalgo and Gabriel Marín
Direct Sound: David Rodríguez
Editing: David Rodriguez – Diego Hidalgo
Interviewer: Roberto Jaen