Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife,’ starring Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim and Celeste O’Connor

October 9, 2021

by Carla Hay

Celeste O’Connor, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim and McKenna Grace in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Photo by Kimberley French/Columbia Pictures)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

Directed by Jason Reitman

Culture Representation: Taking place in the fictional U.S. city of Summerville, Oklahoma, and briefly in Chicago and New York City, the comedic horror film “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, Asians and Latinos) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: The daughter and grandchildren of the late Dr. Egon Spengler (an original Ghostbuster) move to the isolated home in Summerville that they inherited from him, and they immediately have supernatural encounters with deadly entitities. 

Culture Audience: Besides appealing to the obvious target audience of “Ghostbusters” fans, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” will appeal primarily to fans of people who like well-paced adventurous films that combine horror with comedy that’s suitable for most children over the age of 6.

Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Photo by Kimberley French/Columbia Pictures)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a “Ghostbusters” fan’s dream come true. The movie delivers almost everything that diehard fans of the franchise might want to see in a sequel. It also respects all the things that fans loved about the original “Ghostbusters” movie while introducing an exciting new storyline and appealing new characters. It’s the type of movie that is sure to win over legions of new fans to the franchise, which experienced some controversy and mixed-to-negative reviews from fans for the divisive, female-starring 2016 “Ghosbusters” reboot that was directed and co-written by Paul Feig.

Ivan Reitman, who directed 1984’s “Ghostbusters” and 1989’s “Ghostbusters II,” has been a producer of all “Ghostbusters” movies so far. For “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” he handed over the directorial duties to his son Jason Reitman, who co-wrote the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” screenplay with Gil Kenan, a filmmaker who’s a self-professed “Ghostbusters” superfan. The result is what happens when you put true fans in charge of making a sequel to a beloved classic about ghost hunters who call themselves Ghostbusters: You give the fans what they really want. And that’s probably why “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” had its first public screening at the 2021 edition of New York Comic Con at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. After a “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” discussion panel that featured Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman, Kenan and members of the movie’s cast, people who were in attendance got a surprise treat when the entire film was shown after the panel ended.

In “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the daughter and two grandchildren of Dr. Egon Spengler (an original Ghostbuster) are at the center of the story when they find themselves involved in the same work that Egon did as a Ghostbuster in New York City. Egon was portrayed by Harold Ramis (who died of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis in 2014, at the age of 69), whose presence is definitely felt in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” Ramis was also a co-writer on the 1984 “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II.” When watching “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” fans will notice all the homages paid to these first two “Ghostbusters” movies.

Egon’s divorced daughter Callie (played by Carrie Coon), who was estranged from Egon for most of her life due to his workaholic ways, is having financial problems. It’s reached a point where Callie and her two kids, who all live in a Chicago apartment, have gotten an eviction notice from their landlord. Callie’s ex-husband, who is not seen in the movie, is not involved in raising the children. Later in the movie, Callie describes her ex-husband as a “dirtbag,” in order to leave no doubt that she doesn’t want him in her life anymore.

Instead of waiting to be evicted, Callie decides to take herself and her two kids—brainy 12-year-old Phoebe (played by Mckenna Grace) and socially awkward 15-year-old Trevor (played by Finn Wolfhard)—to the fictional small town of Summerville, Oklahoma, where Egon lived as a recluse until he died about a week before this story takes place. Even though Callie had not seen or spoken to her father in years, she inherited his run-down home. She decides to go there in person with her kids to see what to make of the place and to try to escape from her financial woes.

Egon’s home is a cluttered and dirty farmhouse located in an isolated area filled with corn fields and tall grass. Trevor quips when he looks at the dumpy condition of the house: “This is so much worse than I thought it would be.” Callie tells her children that they only plan to stay for a week while she gets some of Egon’s estate affairs in order. But there would be no “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” movie if that turned out to be true.

Before Callie, Phoebe and Trevor even arrived in Summerville, the movie shows that strange and spirits and creatures were inhabiting the area. And these sinister beings don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. There’s also an abandoned mine that was owned by the Shemdor Mining Company that plays a large role in explaining the mystery behind this story.

The mine used to be a big source of the town’s economy, but the mine was shut down years ago by the U.S. Air Force, because miners began leaping to their death in the mine shafts. Why did the U.S. Air Force get involved? It’s all explained in the movie, but viewers can figure it out as soon they hear that the U.S. Air Force and other military and federal law enforcement have had an interest in Summerville.

After Callie, Trevor and Phoebe arrive in Summerville, they find out that Egon wasn’t very well-liked by the locals, who gave him the unflattering nickname Dirt Farmer. Egon kept mostly to himself, and when he did interact with people, he was often gruff or aloof. Trevor and Phoebe never knew their grandfather Egon, but Phoebe seems more fascinated by Egon than Trevor is. During the course of the movie, viewers will see that Phoebe also inherited a lot of Egon’s analytical and personality traits. While Phoebe is very scientific-minded, Trevor is the more artistic sibling, because he is interested in filmmaking.

Callie already knows that Egon’s house is worthless. But to her dismay, she finds out that her estranged father left behind a lot of debts that she’s now responsible for paying, since she is his only heir. She tries to hide these problems from the children, but they are intuitive and are smart enough to figure out that things aren’t going so well for their family and they will be in Summerville for a while, since they have nowhere else to live rent-free.

Summerville is a quaint small town that has some characteristics of a bygone era. For example, Summerville has a drive-in diner called Spinners Roller Hop that has roller-skating servers. One of these servers is a teenager named Lucky (played by Celeste O’Connor), who immediately catches Trevor’s eye when he and his family eat at the diner one day. It’s attraction at first sight for Trevor.

Trevor is so infatuated with Lucky that he gets a job as a dishwasher at Spinners Roller Hop, in order to get to know her better. Trevor lies about his age (he says he’s 17) so that he can get the job. Callie takes a while to warm up to Trevor, and their possible romance is hinted at and teased throughout the movie. Later in the movie, Trevor does a lot of driving of a certain vehicle that “Ghostbusters” fans know and love, even though he’s not old enough to have a driver’s license.

Trevor and Callie also meet a precocious kid who’s about 12 or 13 years old. He calls himself Podcast (played by Logan Kim), because he has his own podcast where he likes to think of himself as an investigative journalist and historian for Summerville. Podcast is naturally inquisitive, and he quickly befriends Trevor and Callie. Podcast constantly carries around audio equipment with him, so he can be ready to record anything newsworthy. He’s also an aspiring paranormal investigator. How convenient.

Summerville is the type of town that doesn’t have many cops, but there are enough police officers who eventually notice some of the shenanigans that Trevor, Phoebe and Podcast get up to around town. Summerville’s Sheriff Domingo (played by Bokeem Woodbine) just happens to be Lucky’s father. Lucky ends up joining Trevor, Phoebe and Podcast in their ghostbusting activities when things get really dangerous.

Trevor isn’t the only family member to meet a potential love interest in Summerville. Carrie begins dating a seismologist named Gary Grooberson (played by Paul Rudd), who teaches at the local high school. Gary, who is a middle-aged bachelor with no children, is a little bit of a goofball nerd who would rather be a full-time scientist than be a teacher to help pay his bills. He’s so bored with teaching that one of the movie’s first scenes of Gary has him using a VCR and TV monitor in his classroom, to show old horror movies such as “Cujo (on VHS tape) to his students, as a way of babysitting them while he does other things that interest him.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a feast of references to the first “Ghostbusters” without copying any previous “Ghostbusters” plot. Is there anyone from the previous “Ghostbusters” movies who is in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”? That information won’t be revealed in this review, although that information has already been leaked on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and other places where people can find out the details if they really want to know. Any “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” cameos from original “Ghostbusters” cast members also have updates on what their “Ghostbusters” characters have been up to since the 1990s.

It’s not just people from the first “Ghostbusters” movie that might or might not make a re-appearance. Don’t be surprised to see any ghosts, demons and monsters that look familiar. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” also has done something hilarious and clever with the Stay Puft marshmallow presence in the movie. The visual effects for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” are well-done and bring chills and laughs in all the right ways.

The filmmakers of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” understand that all the visual effects and scary creatures in the world wouldn’t make this movie succeed. People have to root for the main characters. And the movie delivers on featuring characters that are relatable yet find themselves in extraordinary situations. It’s a well-cast movie where all of these talented actors inhabit their character roles with a great deal of believability, even when extraordinary things are happening to their characters on screen.

In “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” Phoebe is portrayed as the smartest and most fearless hero of the movie, which is undoubtedly a star-making turn for Grace. Phoebe is serious about science, but she also likes to tell jokes that she knows are corny. For example, one of the jokes is: “What do a cigarette and a hamster have in common? They’re both completely harmless until you stick one in your mouth and light it on fire.”

Wolfhard also does a very credible job as Trevor, who can be adventurous or nervous, depending on the situation. Kim’s portrayal of Podcast is of someone who is endlessly curious, but he’s not a brat, which is what this character could have been but thankfully is not. Coon’s portrayal of Callie is of a concerned mother who’s trying to hold her family life together, even when things are starting to fall apart. Gary is smitten with Callie, so this infatuation is used for some lighthearted jokes in the movie.

Because “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” focuses most of the story on the adolescent characters, some people might say that the movie is trying to be like the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which also co-stars Wolfhard. But make no mistake: This is a “Ghostbusters” movie in every way. It has comedy, scary thrills and plenty of adventure and mystery that all harken back to the original “Ghostbusters,” but told from young people’s perspectives. That doesn’t mean the adult characters are sidelined in the movie, but they really are supporting characters who don’t get involved in the action until it’s absolutely necessary.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is escapist entertainment, but the movie also has some tearjerking, poignant moments, especially in the final scenes. Stick around for the mid-credits and end-credits scenes too, which will further delight fans of the original “Ghostbusters” movie. Even if people don’t see these credits scenes, it should come as no surprise that “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” already telegraphs that this film is not the end of the “Ghostbusters” movie series.

Columbia Pictures will release “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” in U.S. cinemas on November 19, 2021.

2021 New York Comic Con: What to expect at this year’s event


Antony Starr and Erin Moriarty in “The Boys” (Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video)

October 4, 2021

by Carla Hay

The 16th annual New York Comic Con takes place October 7 to October 10, 2021, in New York City. For the first time, New York Comic Con will be a hybrid event, where people can attend in person or virtually. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Comic Con was cancelled as an in-person event in 2020 and instead presented as a scaled-down virtual-only event. Before the pandemic, New York Comic Con attracted about 250,000 people per year since 2017, according to ReedPOP, the company that produces the event. The first New York Comic Con took place in 2006.

In 2021, New York Comic Con’s main hub remains the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Comic Con in 2021 has less activities, panels and locations than in previous years. For example, in 2019, New York Comic Con took place at several other locations in New York City, including Hammerstein Ballroom, the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, the New York Public Library, the Way Station (in Brooklyn) and AMC 34th Street. Anime Fest (an offshoot of Anime Expo that was presented in conjunction with New York Comic Con in 2018 and 2019) will not take place at New York Comic Con in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in new safety requirements for New York Comic Con. All attendees ages 12 and up must show proof of vaccination. Attendees younger than age 12 must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated guardian and provide proof of either a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test taken within six hours of entry to each day of the event,  or a negative lab PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of entry of each day of the event.

Checkpoints have been set up at or near the Javits Center for attendees to obtain wristbands indicating that people have shown proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. No one can be admitted into New York Comic Con without these wristbands. The checkpoint locations and open hours can be found here. All attendees must wear a face covering at all times while inside a New York Comic Con building, except when eating or drinking.

TV shows continue to dominate the most high-profile panels and activities. New York Comic Con in 2021 has the following TV shows with in-person panel showcases: Amazon Prime Video’s  superhero series “The Boys” on October 8; USA Network’s and Syfy’s horror series”Chucky” on October 8; Starz’s fantasy drama series “Outlander” on October 9; Paramount+’s sci-fi series “Star Trek: Discovery” on October 9;  FX’s sci-fi series “Y: The Last Man” on October 9; and FX’s vampire horror comedy series “What We Do in the Shadows” on October 10.

There are very few feature films that have panels at New York Comic Con this year. The movie panel that is expected to get the biggest crowd is Columbia Pictures’ “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” on October 8, featuring in-person appearances by director Jason Reitman, producer Ivan Reitman (who directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies) and members of the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” cast. Amazon Prime Video’s 2021 installment of its “Welcome to the Blumhouse” movie anthology horor series has a virtual-only panel on October 7. Funimation will have two in-person movie panels featuring the English-language voice cast members: “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission” on October 8 and “Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train” on October 10.

In addition, New York Comic Con will have one-on-one Q&As that each spotlight a different actor: William Shatner (“Star Trek”) on October 7; George Takei (“Star Trek”) on October 8; and David Harbour (“Stranger Things,” “Black Widow”) on October 9. Meanwhile, in a virtual-only, pre-recorded Q&A on October 8, “Game of Thrones” alum Emilia Clarke discusses her comic book writing debut, “M.O.M.: Mother of Madness.”

Broadway stars are represented on several panels. “The Big Broadway Nerd Panel” will feature panelists such as Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) and James M. Iglehart (“Aladdin”) on October 8. Other Broadway-related panels inlcude “The Broadway Bard Party” on October 9; “E-Ticket to Broadway” Podcast LIVE at Comic Con!” on October 9; “#BroadwayToHollywood: A New Age of Musicals” on October 10; and “Broadway’s A.J. Holmes: Creating One-Man Musical Yeah, But Not Right Now” on October 10.

The 2021 Harvey Awards Hall of Fame ceremony will be livestreamed during New York Comic Con on October  8. The recipients are manga artist Rumiko Takahashi (“Urusei Yatsura,” “Inuyasha”), horror illustrator Bernie Wrightson (“Swamp Thing”), painter and cover artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones, award-winning comic book artist Barry Windsor-Smith (“Conan the Barbarian,” “Weapon X”), and Michael Kaluta (“The Shadow,” “Starstruck”).

And, of course, there will be plenty of panels, exhibits and previews for comic books, video games, fantasy novels and other pop-culture attractions. It wouldn’t be a Comic Con without cosplaying and merchandise sales. The Cosplay Central area returns in a new location: on Level 1 in Room 1A02 (right across from Artist Alley) at the Javits Center. While at Cosplay Central, cosplayers can mingle, pose for photos, use the dressing rooms and attend panel discussions. New York Comic Con also has an enormous amount of merchandise for sale for numerous types of entertainment.


Several stars from movies and TV shows will have individual autograph sessions and/or photo opportunities with fans, for a fee. All celebrities are offering autographs and photos, unless otherwise noted. Prices will vary, according to the celebrity. Participants include:

  • John Cena (“The Suicide Squad,” “Peacemaker,” “F9”) on October 9.
  • Wes Chatham (“The Expanse”) on October 8  and October 9.
  • Hayden Christensen (“Star Wars: Attack of the Clones,” “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”) on October 9 and October 10.
  • Chace Crawford (“The Boys”) on October 8 and October 9.
  • Karen Fukahara (“The Boys”) on October 8, October 9 and October 10.
  • David Harbour (“Stranger Things,” “Black Widow”) on October 9 and October 10.
  • Mary McDonnell (“Battlestar Galactica”) on October 7, October 8 and October 9.
  • Erin Moriarty (“The Boys”) on October 8, October 9 and October 10.
  • Kate Mulgrew (“Star Trek: Voyager,” “Star Trek: Prodigy”) on October 9.
  • Edward James Olmos (“Battlestar Galactica”) on October 7, October 8 and October 9.
  • Jack Quaid (“The Boys”) on October 8, October 9 and October 10.
  • William Shatner (“Star Trek”) on October 7, October 8 and October 9. (Autographs only.)
  • Jurnee Smollett (“Lovecraft Country,” “Birds of Prey”) on October 9.
  • Antony Starr (“The Boys”) on October 8, October 9 and October 10.
  • Steven Strait (“The Expanse”) on October 8 and October 9.
  • George Takei (“Star Trek”) on October 7, October 8 and October 9.
  • Janet Varney (“The Legend of Korra”) on October 8.


(All panel descriptions are courtesy of New York Comic Con.)

Virtual = Panelists will not appear in person; panel is available for viewing in person and online.

In Person = Panelists will appear in person; panel is available for viewing in person and online.

“Welcome to Earth”

October 7, 2021, 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

See the planet as you’ve never witnessed it before with “Welcome to Earth,” the new, awe-inspiring Disney+ original series from National Geographic and starring Will Smith. Meet the Explorers that guide Will through an intimate journey as he travels to the ends of the Earth to observe the strangest, most unusual, and dangerous spectacles the planet has to offer. Learn directly from the Explorers what it takes to unlock some of nature’s most well kept secrets.

“Among the Stars

October 7, 2021, 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

“Among the Stars” is a six-part Disney+ original series with fly-on-the-wall access into the world of NASA. With cameras stationed on both Earth and the International Space Station, the series follows NASA astronaut Captain Chris Cassidy for one last mission to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) which aims to reveal the origins of the universe. Hear directly from the Astronauts and scientists who take on space missions and the challenges they face every day!

“The World According to Jeff Goldblum”

October 7, 2021, 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

Jeff Goldblum is back, and he’s as curious as ever. For season two of the Disney+ original series, premiering on Disney+ Day November 12, Jeff uncovers the surprising secrets and passionate people behind a whole new host of topics, including magic and illusions. Jeff finds out just how magic has shaped the world we live in. Join Jeff along with legendary Magicians Penn & Teller as well as Street Magician Erik Blackwell to go behind the curtain of the mysterious world of MAGIC.

“Battlestar Galactica Retrospective”

October 7, 2021, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM (In person)

Main Stage 1D Hall

The stars of the iconic show are coming to New York Comic Con! Join Edward James Olmos (Commander William Adama) and Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin) as they recount their journey aboard the Battlestar Galactica and answer questions from fans. Cylons and Humans are both welcome. So Say We All!

“Blade Runner: Black Lotus”

October 7, 2021, 6:45 – 7:45 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

Explore the intricate approach to writing the dystopian future with the producers and directors of “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” with futurist, Maurice Conti, who shares his take on how the Blade Runner world stacks up against our future.

“The Legend of Vox Machina”

October 8, 2021, 11 AM – 12 PM (Virtual)

Main Stage 1D Hall

“The Legend of Vox Machina” is an animated fantasy-adventure series for adults that follows Vox Machina, a band of misfits with a fondness for boozing and brawling. In a desperate attempt to pay off their mounting bar tab, these unlikely heroes end up on a quest to save the realm of Exandria from dark magical forces. From a sinister necromancer to a powerful curse, the group confronts a variety of obstacles that not only test their skills, but also the strength of their bond. Join the entire cast of Critical Role as they discuss the process of adapting a role-playing game (RPG) campaign into a series for Amazon Prime Video, as well as share a special sneak peek of footage from the series. Please note, this panel is recommended for mature audiences and contains content not suitable for younger audiences.


October 8, 2021, 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Everyone’s favorite killer doll is coming to television! Join us for the world premiere of the first episode of the new series “Chucky,” ahead of its October 12 debut on USA and Syfy, followed by an exclusive conversation between creator and showrunner Don Mancini and franchise icon Jennifer Tilly (Tiffany Valentine). Get ready to play!

“I Know What You Did Last Summer”

October 8, 2021, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Virtual)

Room 404/405

Written and executive produced by Sara Goodman, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is based on Lois Duncan’s 1973 novel, which was also the basis of the iconic 1997 film. One year after the fatal car accident that haunted their graduation night, a group of teenagers find themselves bound together by a dark secret and stalked by a brutal killer. As they try to piece together who’s after them, they reveal the dark side of their seemingly perfect town—and themselves. Everyone is hiding something, and uncovering the wrong secret could be deadly. Join the series cast and creator as they discuss what fans can most look forward to when the series premieres Friday, October 15, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Please note, this panel is recommended for mature audiences and contains content not suitable for younger audiences.

“The Boys”

October 8, 2021, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Join Karen Fukuhara, Erin Moriarty, Jack Quaid and Antony Starr as they look back on their favorite moments from the first two seasons of “The Boys.”


October 8, 2021, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

“Evil” is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and contractor as they investigate the Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there’s a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work. The second season brings evil closer to home. Kristen struggles with her darker nature, while David suffers temptation as he gets closer to his ordination. Meanwhile Ben is visited by night terrors that prey on his greatest fears. Please join series stars Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, Michael Emerson, Christine Lahti and Kurt Fuller, along with co-creators and executive producers Robert King and Michelle King for a panel discussion about the second season. “Evil” airs Sundays on Paramount+.


October 9, 2021, 11 AM – 12 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Travel through the stones of Craigh na Dun and go back in time with the cast and executive producers of “Outlander” as they take on New York Comic Con in support of the sixth season, premiering early 2022.

“All Elite Wrestlng”

October 9, 2021, 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM (In Person)

Main Stage 1D Hall

Join the stars of “All Elite Wrestling” as they take the stage at New York Comic Con once again for a ringside view of their wildly popular wrestling shows airing weekly on TNT. Panelists: Orange Cassidy, Tony Schiavone, Adam Cole, Thunder Rosa, Darby Allin.

“Star Trek: Discovery”

October 9, 2021, 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

In advance of the season four return of “Star Trek: Discovery” on Paramount+, join cast members Sonequa Martin-Green, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Wilson Cruz, David Ajala and Blu Del Barrio and executive producer Michelle Paradise as they tease the upcoming season of the hit series, which finds Captain Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery facing a threat unlike any they’ve ever encountered. With Federation and non-Federation worlds alike feeling the impact, they must confront the unknown and work together to ensure a hopeful future for all. Produced by CBS Studios, “Star Trek Discovery” will premiere on Paramount+ on November 18.

“Psych 3: This Is Gus”

October 9, 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (Virtual)

Room 404/405

Calling all Psych-Os! Wait for iiiiiiiiiit……the Psych cast is back with an all-new movie! In preparation for a shotgun wedding before the birth of Baby Guster, Shawn and Groomzilla Gus go rogue in an attempt to track down Selene’s estranged husband, as Lassiter grapples with the future of his career. The cast and creators of the Peacock Original, “Psych 3: This Is Gus” reunite to discuss the upcoming film and reveal some exciting news! Moderated by Chancellor Agard.

“The Expanse”

October 9, 2021, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (In Person)

Main Stage 1D Hall

Join the main leads: Wes Chatham and Steven Strait of the hit Amazon show “The Expanse,” as they reflect on the series and answer fan questions!


October 9, 2021, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM (Virtual)

Room 404/405

“Hanna” follows the journey of an extraordinary young woman as she strives to destroy Utrax, the sinister organization that genetically engineered her and others to be the perfect assassins. In the upcoming third season, Hanna attempts to destroy Utrax with the help of troubled ex-CIA agent Marissa Wiegler. The story crisscrosses Europe and builds to a dramatic climax when Hanna and Marissa discover the true, horrifying scope of the operation as well as who was ultimately behind it all. Join the cast and creators as they preview season 3, coming to Amazon Prime Video this fall.

“One of Us Is Lying”

October 9, 2021, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Virtual)

Room 404/405

Meet the cast and executive producers of Peacock’s highly-anticipated new original series “One of Us Is Lying.” Based on Karen M. McManus’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same title, this is the story of what happens when five high schoolers walk into detention and only four make it out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. Join the cast and EPs of the Peacock Original series, Annalisa Cochrane (Addy), Chibuikem Uche (Cooper), Marianly Tejada (Bronwyn), Cooper van Grootel (Nate), and Mark McKenna (Simon), as well as executive producer Erica Saleh and showrunner/executive producer Darío Madrona, to discuss how they brought this fan-favorite book to life. Moderated by Ashley Bellman. ”One of Us Is Lying” starts streaming October 7, exclusively on Peacock.

“The 4400”

October 9, 2021, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

Based on the original TV series by Scott Peters and Renee Echevarria, 4400 overlooked, undervalued, or otherwise marginalized people who vanished without a trace over the last hundred years are all returned in an instant, having not aged a day and with no memory of what happened to them. Join series stars Brittany Adebumola, Joseph David-Jones, Ireon Roach, TL Thompson, Jaye Ladymore, Derrick A. King, Khailah Johnson, Cory Jeacoma, AMARR, and Autumn Best in a conversation moderated by showrunners Ariana Jackson and Sunil Nayar as they discuss the exciting, reimagined story and what to expect when the series premieres Monday, October 25 on The CW.

“Y: The Last Man”

October 9, 2021, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Based on the best-selling comics from Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, FX’s highly anticipated adaptation of “Y: The Last Man” traverses a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic Event kills every mammal with a Y chromosome except for one cisgender man and his pet monkey. The series follows the survivors of this new world as they struggle with their efforts to restore what was lost and the opportunity to build something better. Currently streaming on FX on Hulu, join Executive Producer/Writer/Showrunner Eliza Clark and cast for and advanced screening of Episode 7 and a moderated discussion about how they updated the beloved books and brought them to life.

“The Girl in the Woods”

October 9, 2021, 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM (In Person)

Room 411

Peacock brings NYCC an exclusive first look at “The Girl in the Woods,” a much-anticipated series adaptation of one of the biggest IPs in Crypt TV’s monster universe. Set in the Pacific Northwest, “The Girl in the Woods” follows Carrie’s escape from her mysterious, cult-like colony that guards the world from monsters hidden behind a secret door within the woods. Join executive producers Jack Davis and Darren Brandl (Crypt TV), co-executive producer Jasmine Johnson, and director and co-executive producer Krysten Ritter as they discuss bringing this supernatural story to life and what fans can expect when the Peacock Original YA drama “The Girl in the Woods” premieres Thursday, October 21, exclusively on Peacock.

“The Hot Zone: Anthrax”

October 10, 2021, 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

Nat Geo’s “The Hot Zone” anthology series delves into real-life stories of outbreaks and the heroes on the frontlines. Following the dark days of 9/11, America faced a second wave of attacks: the anthrax letters, which targeted journalists and politicians. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the haunting attacks that killed five people and caused panic across the United States. Inspired by true events, “The Hot Zone: Anthrax” is a timely scientific thriller that follows an FBI Special Agent as he tracks down the killer. While many of us can remember the breaking news headlines and widespread fear that arose during this time, there are many layers to this shocking and unbelievable story that have not yet been told. In this panel, go behind-the-scenes of this chilling crime story with co-stars Tony Goldwyn and Daniel Dae Kim, and showrunners Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson.

“Star Trek: Prodigy”

October 10, 2021, 12:45 PM – 2:00 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Join Paramount+, CBS Studios and Nickelodeon for a premiere screening for the whole family of the highly anticipated upcoming “Star Trek” animated kids’ series “Star Trek: Prodigy.” Following the screening, voice cast members Kate Mulgrew, Brett Gray, Rylee Alazraqui and Dee Bradley Baker, producers Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman and Ben Hibon, and Ramsey Naito, President, Animation & Development, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, will take the stage for a moderated panel discussion.

Developed by Emmy® Award-winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) the CG-animated series “Star Trek: Prodigy” is the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek Franchise – but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents. Produced by the Nickelodeon Animation Studio and CBS Studios, “Star Trek: Prodigy” will premiere on Paramount+ on October 28.

“Just Beyond”

October 10, 2021, 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

Inspired by the writings of R.L. Stine, the Disney+ series “Just Beyond” tells astonishing and thought-provoking stories of a reality just beyond the one we know. In each of the eight unique stories, viewers meet a new cast of characters who must go on a surprising journey of self-discovery in a supernatural world of witches, aliens, ghosts and parallel universes. Join cast Cedric Joe, Megan Stott, Lexi Underwood along with creator and executive producer Seth Grahame-Smith and co-executive producer R.L. Stine for a Q&A moderated by TV Guide Magazine’s Damian Holbrook

“The Badass Women of ‘The Walking Dead'”

October 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00 PM (Virtual)

Room 404/405

We’ve seen the women of The Walking Dead Universe take down massive herds, horrible villains and lead their communities through hardship. This panel will celebrate the evolution of these fierce, strong female leads from every walk of life, starting from when we are first introduced to these characters and how we’ve watched them survive the apocalypse. Join EPs, directors and cast members as they discuss their favorite character storylines, their journeys and the importance of having strong female representation onscreen. Panelists: Alexa Mansour, Aliyah Royale, Angela Kang, Annet Mahendru, Christine Evangelista, Denise Huth, Jenna Elfman, Karen David, Lauren Cohan, Paola Lazaro. Moderator: Yvette Nicole Brown.

“What We Do in the Shadows'”

October 10, 2021, 2:45 – 3:45 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

FX’s Emmy®-nominated vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” returns to New York Comic Con for a live discussion with members of the cast and creative team. Catch a special presentation of an upcoming episode and join special guests in a lively conversation about the series Rolling Stone named “the funniest show on television.” What We Do in the Shadows is a documentary-style look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of four vampires who’ve “lived” together for hundreds of years. Seasons 3 currently airs Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT on FX and streams the next day on FX on Hulu.  Don’t miss the chance to attend the Vampiric Council of the Eastern Seaboard of the New World’s first public meeting! BAT!


(All panel descriptions are courtesy of New York Comic Con.)

Virtual = Panelists will not appear in person; panel is available for viewing in person and online.

In Person = Panelists will appear in person; panel is available for viewing in person and online.

“Welcome to the Blumhouse”

October 7, 2021, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM (Virtual)

Room 411

This October, Welcome to the Blumhouse returns exclusively to Amazon Prime Video with the worldwide release of four electrifying new thrillers that plumb the depths of humanity’s deepest and darkest fears: “Bingo Hell” (directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero), “Black as Night” (directed by Maritte Lee Go), “Madres” (directed by Ryan Zaragoza) and “The Manor” (directed by Axelle Carolyn). Join all four directors, with a special introduction by Founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions Jason Blum, as they discuss the importance of showcasing female and emerging directors while delivering original stories to audiences everywhere. “Bingo Hell” and “Black as Night” premiere October 1, “Madres” and “The Manor” premiere October 8, all on Amazon Prime Video. Panel moderated by Dino-Ray Ramos.

“My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission”

October 8, 2021, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Your sneak peek into the next chapter of the global anime phenomenon starts here. Presented by Funimation, the panel includes an exclusive preview of My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission. Hear from the dub cast and crew before the movie hits theaters October 29! Panelists: Voice cast members Ryan Colt Levy (Rody), Sarah Roach (Clair Voyance), Lisa Oritz (Burnin), Cristina Vee (Pino), Series and movie ADR Script Writer, Jeramey Kraatz. Moderator: Lauren Moore.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

October 8, 2021, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman will be joined by some of the cast of Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” for an in-depth conversation. The panel will cover the highly-anticipated new film and the franchise at-large, one of the most beloved in pop culture history. In addition to insightful conversation the panel will feature never-before-seen clips from the film.

“Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train”

October 9, 2021, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (In Person)

Empire Stage

Board the Mugen Train once again! Presented by Funimation, this panel is your deep dive into “Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train.” Join the English voices of some of your favorite characters as they discuss everything from heart-wrenching scenes to moments that fans love most.

2021 Tony Awards: ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ is the top winner

September 26, 2021

by Carla Hay

Tony Awards logo

With 10 prizes, including Best Musical, “Moulin Rouge!” was the top winner at the 74th annual Tony Awards, which took place at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City on September 26, 2021. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which is based on the 2001 original musical movie, had 14 Tony nominations. The ceremony, which handed out most of the award categories, was streamed on Paramount+ and was hosted by Audra McDonald.

The biggest Tony Award categories were presented in a companion show titled “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!,” which was hosted by Leslie Odom Jr. and had more emphasis live performances than on giving awards. CBS had the U.S. telecast of “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!,” which Paramount+ had also available for streaming. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 74th annual Tony Awards ceremony was postponed from its original date of June 7, 2020. The Tony Awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League.

“The Inheritance,” which had 11 nominations, won four Tony Awards: Best Play; Best Direction of a Play (for Stephen Daldry); Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (for Andrew Burnap); and Best Performances by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (for Lois Smith).

“Jagged Little Pill” was the top contender going into the ceremony, with 15 nods. In the end, “Jagged Little Pill” won two Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical for Diablo Cody) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (for Lauren Patten). The musical features songs from Alanis Morissette’s Grammy-winning 1995 multiplatinum album “Jagged Little Pill.”

“A Christmas Carol” won all five Tony Awards for which it was nominated: Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre; Best Scenic Design of a Play; Best Costume Design of a Play; Best Sound Design of a Play; and Best Lighting Design of a Play.

“A Soldier’s Play” won two of its seven nominations: Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (for David Alan Grier). “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” had 12 nominations and won one: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (for Adrienne Warren). Meanwhile, Mary-Louise Parker of “The Sound Inside” won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, which was the only Tony Award won of the show’s six nominations.

On March 12, 2020, all Broadway shows were shut down due to the pandemic. The re-opening for Broadway shows was tentatively set for May 2021, but was eventually changed to September 2021. The traditional eligibility period for the 2021 Tony Awards (June 2020 to May 2021) has now been completely wiped out, since there were no Broadway shows playing during this eligibility period. However, the next Tony Awards is expected to take place sometime in 2022.

Because of the COVID-19 shutdown of Broadway shows, many of the Tony Awards categories for the 74th ceremony had less nominees than usual. Some categories (including Best Musical and Best Revival of a Play) that normally had five nominations each have three or less nominations for the category this year. In the category for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, there was only one nominee: Aaron Tveit of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which made him the default winner.

Prizes in non-competitive categories are also handed out at each Tony Awards ceremony. Choreographer/dancer/theater director Garciela Daniele received the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. The Broadway Advocacy Coalition, “David Byrne’s American Utopia” and Freestyle Love Supreme were the recipients of the Special Tony Award. The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award went to actress Julie Halston, for her work in battling pulmonary fibrosis. The recipients of the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre were director Fred Gallo, producer Irene Gandy, stage manager Beverly Jenkins, and New Federal Theatre and its founder Woodie King Jr.

Presenters at the 74th annual Tony Awards and “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” included Annaleigh Ashford, Jon Batiste, Stephanie J. Block, Wayne Brady, Tituss Burgess, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, André De Shields, Robbie Fairchild, Beanie Feldstein, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jordan Fisher, Santino Fontana, Andrew Garfield, Jared Grimes, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Holliday, Christopher Jackson, Nikki M. James, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ron Cephas Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Norm Lewis, John Lithgow, Lindsay Mendez, Tony Awards host McDonald, Idina Menzel, Ruthie Ann Miles, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jennifer Nettles, Lynn Nottage, Bebe Neuwirth, Odom, Kelli O’Hara, Adam Pascal, Bernadette Peters, Ben Platt, Jeremy Pope, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Rapp, Chita Rivera, Anika Noni Rose, Daphne Rubin-Vega Lea Salonga, Ali Stroker, Black Thought, Courtney B. Vance, Daniel J. Watts, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and BD Wong.

Performers included David Byrne and the cast of “American Utopia”; John Legend and the cast of “Ain’t Too Proud”; Odom and Groban, who prefaced the performance with talking about how they are both alumni of Carnegie Mellon University’s arts program; and a reunion of the cast members of “Hairspray,” including Marissa Jaret Winokur, Matthew Morrison, Kerry Butler, Chester Gregory and Darlene Love. The ceremony ended with a performance by Freestyle Love Supreme, featuring Miranda, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Wayne Brady, Anthony Veneziale, Chris Sullivan, Kiala Mullady, Aneesa Folds, Bill Sherman, Arthur Lewis, Tarik Davis, Andrew Bancroft, Ashley P. Flanagan and Ian Weinberger.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2021 Tony Awards:


Best Play

Grand Horizons

Author: Bess Wohl
Producers: Second Stage Theater, Carole Rothman, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mandy Greenfield

The Inheritance*

Author: Matthew López
Producers: Tom Kirdahy, Sonia Friedman Productions, Hunter Arnold, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, 1001 Nights Productions, Robert Greenblatt, Mark Lee, Peter May, Scott Rudin, Richard Winkler, Bruce Cohen, Mara Isaacs, Greg Berlanti & Robbie Rogers, Brad Blume, Burnt Umber Productions, Shane Ewen, Greenleaf Productions, Marguerite Hoffman, Oliver Roth, Joseph Baker/Drew Hodges, Stephanie P. McClelland, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Caiola Productions, Mary J. Davis, Kayla Greenspan, Fakston Productions, FBK Productions, Sally Cade Holmes, Benjamin Lowy, MWM Live, Lee & Alec Seymour, Lorenzo Thione, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, AB Company/Julie Boardman, Adam Zell & Co/ZKM Media, Jamie deRoy/Catherine Adler, DeSantis-Baugh Productions/Adam Hyndman, Gary DiMauro/Meredith Lynsey Schade, John Goldwyn/Silva Theatrical Group, Deborah Green/Christina Mattsson, Cliff Hopkins/George Scarles, Invisible Wall Productions/Lauren Stein, Sharon Karmazin/Broadway Factor NYC, Brian Spector/Madeleine Foster Bersin, Undivided Productions/Hysell Dohr Group, Ushkowitzlatimer Productions/Tyler Mount, The Young Vic

Sea Wall/A Life

Author: Simon Stephens & Nick Payne
Producers: Nine Stories, Ambassador Theatre Group, Seaview Productions, Benjamin Lowy Productions, LFG Theatrical, Audible, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, Jacob Langfelder, Brian Moreland, Roth-Manella Productions, Salman Vienn Al-Rashid Friends, SLSM Theatricals, Teresa Tsai, Dunetz Restieri Productions, Morwin Schmookler, Jane & Mark Wilf, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, Mandy Hackett

Slave Play

Author: Jeremy O. Harris
Producers: Seaview Productions, Troy Carter, Level Forward, Nine Stories, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, Shooting Star Productions, Roth-Manella Productions, Carlin Katler Productions, Cohen Hopkins Productions, Thomas Laub, Blair Russell, WEB Productions, Salman Al-Rashid, Jeremy O. Harris, Mark Shacket, New York Theatre Workshop

The Sound Inside

Author: Adam Rapp
Producers: Jeffrey Richards, Lincoln Center Theater, Rebecca Gold, Evamere Entertainment, Eric Falkenstein, Salman Vienn Al-Rashid, Spencer Ross, FilmNation Entertainment/Faliro House, Iris Smith, Jane Bergère, Caiola Productions, Mark S. Golub and David S. Golub, Ken Greiner, Gemini Theatrical Investors, Scott H. Mauro, Jayne Baron Sherman, CZEKAJ Productions, Wendy Morgan-Hunter, Kristin Foster, Brian Moreland, Sonia Mudbhatkal, Jacob Soroken Porter, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mandy Greenfield

Best Musical

Jagged Little Pill

Producers: Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David, Eva Price, Caiola Productions, Level Forward & Abigail Disney, Geffen Playhouse-Tenenbaum-Feinberg, James L. Nederlander, Dean Borell Moravis Silver, Stephen G. Johnson, Concord Theatricals, Bard Theatricals, M. Kilburg Reedy,, Betsy Dollinger, Sundowners, The Araca Group, Jana Bezdek, Len Blavatnik, BSL Enterprises, Burnt Umber Productions, Darren DeVerna & Jeremiah Harris, Daryl Roth, Susan Edelstein, FG Productions, Sue Gilad & Larry Rogowsky, Harmonia, John Gore Theatrical Group, Melissa M. Jones & Barbara H. Freitag, Stephanie Kramer, Lamplighter Projects, Christina Isaly Liceaga, David Mirvish, Spencer B. Ross, Bellanca Smigel Rutter, Iris Smith, Jason Taylor & Sydney Suiter, Rachel Weinstein, W.I.T. Productions/Gabriel Creative Partners, Independent Presenters Network, Universal Music Publishing Group, Jujamcyn Theaters, Tamar Climan, American Repertory Theater

Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Producers: Carmen Pavlovic, Gerry Ryan, Global Creatures, Bill Damaschke, Aaron Lustbader, Hunter Arnold, Darren Bagert, Erica Lynn Schwartz/Matt Picheny/Stephanie Rosenberg, Adam Blanshay Productions/Nicolas & Charles Talar, Iris Smith, Aleri Entertainment, CJ ENM, Sophie Qi/Harmonia Holdings, Baz & Co./Len Blavatnik, AF Creative Media/International Theatre Fund, Endeavor Content, Tom & Pam Faludy, Gilad-Rogowsky/Instone Productions, John Gore Organization, MEHR-BB Entertainment GmbH, Spencer Ross, Nederlander Presentations/IPN, Eric Falkenstein/Suzanne Grant, Jennifer Fischer, Peter May/Sandy Robertson, Triptyk Studios, Carl Daikeler/Sandi Moran, DeSantis-Baugh Productions, Red Mountain Theatre Company/, Candy Spelling/Tulchin Bartner, Roy Furman, Jujamcyn Theaters

Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Producers: Stage Entertainment, James L. Nederlander, Tali Pelman, Feste Investments B.V., David Mirvish, Nattering Way, TEG Dainty, Katori Hall, Mark Rubinstein LTD, Warner Chappell, Peter May, Eva Price, No Guarantees, Caiola Productions, Jamie deRoy, Wendy Federman, Roy Furman, Independent Presenters Network, John Gore Organization, Marc Levine, Carl Moellenberg, Al Nocciolino, Catherine Adler, Tom Perakos, Iris Smith, Candy Spelling, Anita Waxman, Daryl Roth, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Tina Turner

Best Revival of a Play


Producers: Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Benjamin Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, AnnaPurna Theatre, Hunter Arnold, Burnt Umber Productions, Rashad V. Chambers, Eilene Davidson Productions, KFF Productions, Dominick LaRuffa, Jr., Stephanie P. McClelland, Richard Winkler/Alan Shorr, The Jamie Lloyd Company

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Author: Terrence McNally
Producers: Hunter Arnold, Debbie Bisno, Tom Kirdahy, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Caiola Productions, FedermanGold Productions, Invisible Wall Productions, John Gore Organization, Mike Karns, Kilimanjaro Theatricals, Peter May, Tyler Mount, Seriff Productions, Silva Theatrical Group, Cliff Bleszinski/GetterLazarDaly, Jamie deRoy/Gary DiMauro, Suzi Dietz & Lenny Beer/Sally Cade Holmes, Barbara H. Freitag/Ken Davenport, Barry & Kimberly Gowdy/Mabee Family Office, Kayla Greenspan/Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf, John Joseph/Broadway Factor, Tilted Windmills/John Paterakis, The Shubert Organization

A Soldier’s Play*

Author: Charles Fuller
Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Julia C. Levy, Sydney Beers, Steve Dow

Best Book of a Musical

Jagged Little Pill*

Diablo Cody

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

John Logan

Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

A Christmas Carol*

Music: Christopher Nightingale

The Inheritance

Music: Paul Englishby

The Rose Tattoo

Music: Fitz Patton and Jason Michael Webb

Slave Play

Music: Lindsay Jones

The Sound Inside

Music: Daniel Kluger

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Ian Barford, Linda Vista
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance*
Jake Gyllenhaal, Sea Wall/A Life
Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal
Tom Sturridge, Sea Wall/A Life
Blair Underwood, A Soldier’s Play

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Audra McDonald, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside*

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical*

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Ato Blankson-Wood, Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer, Slave Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play*
John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Jane Alexander, Grand Horizons
Chalia La Tour, Slave Play
Annie McNamara, Slave Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance*
Cora Vander Broek, Linda Vista

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Derek Klena, Jagged Little Pill
Sean Allan Krill, Jagged Little Pill
Sahr Ngaujah, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Daniel J. Watts, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill
Celia Rose Gooding, Jagged Little Pill
Robyn Hurder, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill*
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Soutra Gilmour, Betrayal
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol*
Derek McLane, A Soldier’s Play
Clint Ramos, Slave Play

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Riccardo Hernández and Lucy Mackinnon, Jagged Little Pill
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Mark Thompson and Jeff Sugg, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Slave Play
Dede Ayite, A Soldier’s Play
Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol*
Clint Ramos, The Rose Tattoo

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Emily Rebholz, Jagged Little Pill
Mark Thompson, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Jiyoun Chang, Slave Play
Jon Clark, The Inheritance
Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside
Allen Lee Hughes, A Soldier’s Play
Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol*

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Bruno Poet, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend, Jagged Little Pill
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Best Sound Design of a Play

Paul Arditti & Christopher Reid, The Inheritance
Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol*
Lindsay Jones, Slave Play
Daniel Kluger, Sea Wall/A Life
Daniel Kluger, The Sound Inside

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Jonathan Deans, Jagged Little Pill
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Nevin Steinberg, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Best Direction of a Play

David Cromer, The Sound Inside
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance*
Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play
Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal
Robert O’Hara, Slave Play

Best Direction of a Musical

Phyllida Lloyd, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Diane Paulus, Jagged Little Pill
Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Best Choreography

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jagged Little Pill
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Anthony Van Laast, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Orchestrations

Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill
Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Ethan Popp, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Review: ‘Dating & New York,’ starring Francesca Reale, Jaboukie Young-White, Catherine Cohen and Brian Muller

September 24, 2021

by Carla Hay

Jaboukie Young-White and Francesca Reale in “Dating & New York” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

“Dating & New York”

Directed by Jonah Feingold

Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the romantic comedy “Dating & New York” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, Asians and Latinos) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: After meeting through a dating app, a man and a woman in their mid-20s decide to become “friends with benefits” until one of them falls in love with the other person and wants more of a romantic commitment. 

Culture Audience: “Dating & New York” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in overly talkative romantic comedies that are extremely formulaic and not very funny.

Jaboukie Young-White and Francesca Reale in “Dating & New York” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

“Dating & New York” is proof that the only thing worse than a dull and unoriginal romantic comedy is a dull and unoriginal romantic comedy that thinks it’s exciting and creative. This annoying movie reeks of smugness, when it’s really just a worse version of the mediocre 2011 romantic comedies “No Strings Attached” (starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman) and “Friends With Benefits” (starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis). Each of the three movies is about two good-looking young people who have a sexual relationship while trying not to fall in love with each other. However, “Dating & New York” (written and directed by Jonah Feingold) takes it to irritating levels by trying to be too cute for its own good.

How cutesy does “Dating & New York” want to be? In the very beginning of the film there’s a voiceover narrator (a role played by Jerry Ferrara) and animation (as if this a Disney fairytale), with the narrator saying this monologue: “Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom known as New York City, in a city that doesn’t sleep, but sleeps around a lot, a land of dollar pizza and crowded subways, there lived two millennials cursed with the paradox of choice.”

Side note: A pizza slice that only costs a dollar in New York City? What year was this screenplay written? Anyone who’s spent time recently in New York City can spot the phoniness of the “dollar pizza” line because it’s been several years since a slice of pizza in New York City cost only one dollar.

Viewers soon find out that the story’s two central characters, who are both in their mid-20s, aren’t very cursed at all and are actually quite spoiled and privileged. These two don’t have much “paradox of choice” struggles going on, unless you consider it a “paradox of choice” when they have to decide what kind of attitude they want to have in any given hour: self-pitying whiner or self-absorbed hipster. You get the feeling that Feingold wrote the characters this way because he knows a lot of people who think of themselves as adorable and funny, but they actually lack self-awareness in how insufferable they are with their entitled and out-of-touch attitudes about what life’s real problems are.

Milo Marks (played by Jaboukie Young-White), who was born and raised in New York City, lives rent-free in the spacious and modern Upper West Side apartment of his mother and her boyfriend, who aren’t home very much because they travel a lot for their jobs. Milo doesn’t seem to have a job. However, the movie shows that he’s an aspiring stand-up comedian with no talent who can only get occasional gigs performing in small places with hardly anyone there to see him. Here’s a sample line from his stand-up comedy act when he talks about romantic relationships: “Rollover feelings are like rollover minutes.”

Wendy Brinkley (played by Francesa Reale), who becomes Milo’s “best friend with benefits,” isn’t shown working at all. She’s got loads of snappy one-liners and comments that are supposed to show that she has a “firecracker” personality, but it’s all so superficial. The movie doesn’t even bother mentioning what Wendy does for a living or what she wants to do with her life. That’s how hollow her character is, although Reale is one of the better actors in this cast.

Milo and Wendy have met on a dating app called Meet Cute. Viewers first see Milo and Wendy together on their first date at an East Village bar called Lilo’s. Here’s a sample of their conversation: Wendy asks, “What is your baggage?” Milo answers in a sarcastic manner, “I have no baggage. Basically, I tell people I’m just like you, but perfect.”

Milo then says in all seriousness why he has problems keeping a steady relationship: “I create this fantasy version of a person … And a lot of the time, I don’t like the real person as much as the fantasy person.” Milo essentially tells Wendy on this first date that he usually ends his relationships when he becomes disappointed or bored with the person who stops meeting his fantasy expectations.

Most people with some modicum of self-respect wouldn’t want to get involved with someone who’s obviously very emotionally immature. However, Wendy is attracted enough to Milo that she sleeps with him on their first date. Milo is the type of person who says, “Only in New York can you make out with someone in front of a bunch of garbage and it’s still romantic.”

After Milo and Wendy spend the night together, they don’t keep in touch with each other for several weeks. Milo is a little surprised, but his feelings aren’t that hurt since he and Wendy don’t know each other well enough to feel like it’s a total snub. The voiceover narrator explains that Milo and Wendy both moved on and casually dated other people. Viewers find out later that the narrator is a doorman named Cole Navatorre, who works in Milo’s apartment building and ends up giving Milo some advice on Milo’s love life.

And because this is a romantic comedy that’s a cesspool of clichés, it should come as no surprise that Milo and Wendy both have best friends who end up dating each other. Milo’s best friend is an ambitious J.P. Morgan financial analyst named Hank Kadner (played by Brian Muller), while Wendy’s best friend is a fast-talking neurotic named Jessie Katz (played by Catherine Cohen), who has been Wendy’s closest confidante since they were students at Wesleyan University. Whatever Jessie does for a living remains a mystery. This movie seems to have a problem showing women with careers.

Hank and Jessie have their “meet cute” moment when Hank and Milo are at a trendy bar, and Jessie comes over to talk to them. Milo hasn’t seen Wendy in several weeks at this point. Milo spots a model-esque woman named Olivia (played by real-life model Taylor Hill), who’s sitting alone at the bar counter. Even though he hasn’t met Olivia yet, Milo says to Hank and Jessie out loud (with a lot of wishful thinking) that she’s his future wife. Jessie encourages Milo to start talking to this mystery beauty.

Milo gets the courage to approach Olivia. They introduce themselves to each other. The conversation starts off friendly and a little flirtatious, until Olivia mentions that she has a boyfriend. As soon as Milo hears that Olivia is already romantically involved with someone else, he walks away from her while she’s talking. How rude. It’s an example of how Milo thinks he’s a better catch than he really is.

After Milo abruptly cut off his conversation with Olivia, she comes over to where Milo is to scold him for being so disrespectful. It doesn’t phase him too much. What does catch him off guard is finding out that Jessie is Wendy’s best friend. And what do you know, here comes Wendy to walk into Milo’s life again. Wendy is also still single and available, the sparks are still there between Milo and Wendy, and so they pick up where they left off.

Milo soon finds out that Wendy wants a “best friends with benefits” relationship. She even makes a “Best Friends With Benefits” contract that Milo reluctantly signs. Wendy constantly lectures Milo that they’re better off not falling in love with each other because it would ruin their relationship, while Milo wants to leave open the possibility that they can fall in love. In other words, the movie shows very early on which person in this relationship is going to “catch feelings” and fall in love with the other person first.

Hank and Jessie, who have more traditional views of romantic relationships, both think the “Best Friends With Benefits” contract is a bad idea. Hank and Jessie’s romance has a typical trajectory, while Milo and Wendy’s relationship has stops, starts and some arguments in between. Hank and Jessie argue too, but not as often as Milo and Wendy have conflicts. Jessie and Hank are also the type of couple who will make up easily and end their arguments with passionate kissing. Wendy doesn’t believe in showing public displays of affection in a “best friends with benefits” relationship.

“Dating & New York” puts Milo and Hank in scenarios that try to make them look “progressive hipsters,” but it all just looks like contrived crap. For example, there’s a scene where Milo and Hank talk about their love lives while they’re at a spa, getting facials while wearing pink bathrobes and having towels wrapped around their heads. Is that supposed to make them look like feminists? It’s all so phony, because not once are Milo and Hank seen in the movie actually having a conversation with the women in their love lives about the women’s hopes, dreams and life goals, and how they can support each other in those goals.

And since this a romantic comedy with no original ideas, it uses the old cliché of ex-lovers coming into the picture so the new couple at the center of the story will be “tested” by jealousy issues. Milo’s ex-girlfriend is someone whom he calls Katie 7F (played by Sohina Sidhu), because she grew up in Apartment 7F of Milo’s building. Katie has unresolved feelings for Milo.

Wendy’s ex-boyfriend is a weirdo named Bradley (played by Arturo Castro), whom Milo and Wendy see at a plant shop. Bradley is there with his current girlfriend Erica (played by Hallie Samuels), who’s got a ditsy personality. The four of them have an awkward conversation.

And the boring scenarios drag on and on until the movie comes to the most derivative conclusion that anyone can expect. None of the actors in the cast does anything special. Reale has the best comedic timing out of all the cast members, while Young-White is sometimes stiff in his delivery. It doesn’t help that Milo is an obnoxious character who thinks he’s got a better personality than he really does. The supporting characters in the movie are very two-dimensional and trite.

“Dating & New York” has so little originality and is filled with so much annoying dialogue, you can fall alseep or fast forward through the middle of the movie, start watching the last 20 minutes, and still know how everything is going to end. If you can’t get enough of these types of predictable romantic comedies with a concept of “friends with benefits who try to pretend they won’t fall in love with each other,” then you’re better off watching a classic such as “When Harry Met Sally.”

IFC Films released “Dating & New York” in select U.S. cinemas, digital and VOD on September 10, 2021.

2021 New York Film Festival: talks and panels announced

September 22, 2021

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces Talks for the 59th New York Film Festival (September 24 – October 10). All NYFF59 Talks are presented by HBO®, supplementing festival screenings with a series of free panel discussions and in-depth conversations among a wide range of guests.

With last year’s NYFF events taking place entirely in virtual and socially distanced drive-in settings, this year’s Talks promise a much-needed and long-awaited return to in-person gatherings, with a robust lineup of spirited and engaging conversations between moderators, filmmakers, and audiences.

2021 marks the birth centenary of NYFF co-founder Amos Vogel. In recognition of this milestone, which is being celebrated with a Vogel tribute in the NYFF59 Spotlight slate, the festival will present the first annual Amos Vogel Lecture. Filmmaker Albert Serra (The Death of Louis XIV, NYFF54; Liberté, NYFF57), whose singular and transgressive approach to cinema epitomizes the vision of Vogel’s landmark text, Film as a Subversive Art, will deliver this inaugural edition of the lecture. The Amos Vogel Centenary Retrospective and lecture are sponsored by MUBI.

Additional highlights include career-spanning Deep Focus dialogues with director Mira Nair, star Sarita Choudhury, and cinematographer Ed Lachman on the making of Revivals selection Mississippi Masala, moderated by novelist Jhumpa Lahiri; Jane Campion in an extended conversation with Sofia Coppola about Campion’s NYFF59 Centerpiece selection The Power of the Dog and its mesmerizing exploration of masculinity; Ryûsuke Hamaguchi on his two Main Slate selections, Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy; and Apichatpong Weerasethakul in an in-depth conversation about Memoria, his first film set outside of Thailand and his first outing with an international star, Tilda Swinton.

Crosscuts returns after its successful launch last year with pairings of filmmakers across NYFF sections, genres, and styles. This year’s lineup includes conversations between Mia Hansen-Løve (Bergman Island) and Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World) as well as Silvan Zürcher (The Girl and the Spider)and Alexandre Koberidze (What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?), with more events to be announced in the coming days.

Roundtable discussions highlight thematic trends within the program and consider the films in the context of wider cultural conversations. Among these: Cinema’s Workers, which will explore past and ongoing labor movements within film and art communities with panelists Abby Sun, Dana Kopel, Kazembe Balagun, and filmmaker Ted Fendt (Outside Noise, NYFF59); and two Film Comment Live conversations presented by the reputed publication. The Velvet Underground &the New York Avant-Garde brings together Todd Haynes, Ed Lachman, and critic Amy Taubin to discuss the making of The Velvet Underground and Songs for Drella, and the enduring legacy of the historic moment of artistic innovation they so vividly capture, while Festival Report enlists a group of critics in a lively wrap-up discussion with Devika Girish and Clinton Krute, Co-Deputy Editors of Film Comment, about the NYFF59 lineup.

Talks are organized by Devika Girish and Madeline Whittle, in collaboration with Eugene Hernandez and Dennis Lim.

Free tickets for NYFF59 Talks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning one hour prior to each event at the corresponding box office. Tickets are limited to one per person, subject to availability. For those unable to attend, video from these events will be available online on Film at Lincoln Center’s YouTube channel at a later date.

NYFF59 will feature in-person screenings, as well as select outdoor events. In response to distributor and filmmaker partners and in light of festivals returning and theaters reopening across the country, NYFF will not offer virtual screenings for this year’s edition.

Proof of full vaccination will be required for all staff, audiences, and filmmakers at NYFF59 venues. FLC requires all guests to maintain face coverings consistent with the current CDC guidelines inside their spaces regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, NYFF59 will adhere to a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and state and city medical experts, while adapting as necessary to the current health crisis. Visit for more information.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 24 – October 10, 2021. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent.



2021 marks the birth centenary of Amos Vogel, the pioneering film programmer, author, and co-founder of the New York Film Festival. As the flagship event of NYFF’s corresponding tribute, the festival is inaugurating the Amos Vogel Lecture, to be delivered annually by an artist or commentator who embodies the spirit of Vogel’s cinephilia and brings it into conversation with the present and future of the medium. For this first edition, we are proud to welcome the filmmaker Albert Serra (The Death of Louis XIV, NYFF54; Liberté, NYFF57). Serra’s singular and transgressive approach to cinema epitomizes the vision of Vogel’s landmark text, Film as a Subversive Art, whose French edition features a foreword by the director. Serra’s original lecture will be followed by a conversation with the programmers of the NYFF59 Spotlight sidebar devoted to Vogel’s curatorial legacy. Sponsored by MUBI.

Tuesday, October 5, 4:00pm, Walter Reade Theater


In-depth dialogues with festival filmmakers & their collaborators

The Making of Mississippi Masala

Moderated by Jhumpa Lahiri

Released in 1991, Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala endures as a breakthrough work of American independent and diasporic cinema. The rare film to explore relations between South Asian and African-American communities in the South, Nair’s second fiction feature stars Sarita Choudhury as a Ugandan Indian refugee who falls for a self-employed carpet cleaner played by Denzel Washington, cueing familial and communal tensions and pitting passion against tradition. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film’s release and the premiere of its new restoration in NYFF59’s Revivals section, join us for a conversation with Nair, Choudhury, and cinematographer Ed Lachman, moderated by the writer Jhumpa Lahiri, whose novel, The Namesake, Nair adapted in 2006. Sponsored by Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

This event will take place in Damrosch Park immediately following the September 25 screening of Mississippi Masala and will be accessible to ticket-holders.

Jane Campion

Moderated by Sofia Coppola

Following her Best Director win at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Jane Campion returns to NYFF with her first feature since 2009’s Bright StarThe Power of the Dog, the Centerpiece selection of NYFF59. Known for her incisive portraits of womanhood, Campion turns her lens to masculinity in this new film, which adapts Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name. The results are thrilling: The Power of the Dog is a mesmerizing, psychologically rich variation on the American western, and a compassionate examination of repressed sexuality and the fragility of patriarchy. We are thrilled to welcome the legendary New Zealand director for an extended conversation with filmmaker Sofia Coppola (On the Rocks, NYFF58) about this latest entry in Campion’s masterful, decades-spanning career.

Saturday, October 2, 4:00pm, Amphitheater.

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Making his return to NYFF with not one but two Main Slate selections, Japanese filmmaker Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Asako I & II, NYFF56) affirms his stature as a true rising star of world cinema, and one of the foremost chroniclers of the ebbs and flows of human relationships. With Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy—a pair of vividly realized and ceaselessly surprising emotional epics—Hamaguchi demonstrates his singular talent for tracing the intricate workings of the heart amid the perennial paradoxes of modern life. Join us for an in-depth conversation with the writer-director to explore the resonances and shared preoccupations of his new films and his prolific body of work.

Sunday, October 3, 7:00pm, Amphitheater

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

For over two decades, Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been celebrated as one of world cinema’s most original auteurs, with films that constantly refract and reinscribe the contours of narrative, reality, and temporality. His new feature—which comes six years after 2015’s Cemetery of Splendour (NYFF53)—reaffirms his peerless status even as it takes the Thai auteur into uncharted territory: Memoria is Apichatpong’s first film set outside of Thailand, in Colombia; his first English- and Spanish-language venture; and his first outing with a bona fide international star, Tilda Swinton. We are thrilled to welcome the filmmaker for a deep-dive conversation about his extraordinary oeuvre and the elliptical novelties and familiar mysteries of his latest masterwork.

Thursday, October 7, 6:30pm, Amphitheater


Conversations between filmmakers across festival sections, genres, and styles

Mia Hansen-Løve & Joachim Trier

With their respective NYFF59 Main Slate selections Bergman Island and The Worst Person in the World, Mia Hansen-Løve (Things to Come, NYFF54) and Joachim Trier (Thelma, NYFF55) achieve new creative heights in their parallel trajectories as two of the preeminent European filmmakers of their generation. Both artists have spent the last 15 years interrogating, with great compassion, the moral and emotional crosscurrents that undergird human behavior, and their latest films refine these inquiries with an invigorating reflexive frankness. Join the two writer-directors for a conversation about their influences and inspirations, their distinctively personal and philosophical approaches to cinematic storytelling, and the endlessly generative themes of romantic ambivalence and evolving self-knowledge that animate their new films.

Monday, September 27, 7:00pm, Amphitheater

Silvan Zürcher & Alexandre Koberidze

In an NYFF lineup with a record number of new and emerging filmmakers, Alexandre Koberidze’s What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? and Ramon and Silvan Zürcher’s The Girl and the Spider—both sophomore features—stand out for their sui generis approaches to cinematic narrative and form. Formally assured and intellectually audacious, the two films, in their own unique ways, electrify the quotidian with currents of desire, romance, and modern myth. We’re excited to bring Silvan Zürcher and Koberidze together to discuss their filmic inspirations and aspirations; their trajectories within Swiss and Georgian cinema, respectively, and in world cinema at large; and their experiences at the renowned DFFB (the German Film and Television Academy Berlin), which all three directors attended.

Saturday, October 2, 7:00pm, Amphitheater


Panels and discussions that connect the festival to the themes of the moment

Cinema’s Workers

Moderated by Gina Telaroli

The phrase “dream factory” has long been invoked to capture the magical, transporting allure of the American film industry, but too often, as consumers, our fascination with the dream obscures the factory: the workforce that breathes life into the movies and delivers them to audiences. Behind the glitz and glamor of cinema is the labor of seen and unseen workers across the fields of production, distribution, exhibition, and curation. As questions of labor and equity take center stage in art communities in New York and beyond, this roundtable brings together a multifaceted group of film workers to discuss past and ongoing labor movements in cinema. Panelists include Abby Sun (curator, the DocYard, My Sight Is Lined with Visions), filmmaker Ted Fendt (Outside Noise, NYFF59), Kazembe Balagun (project manager, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office), and Dana Kopel (writer, editor, and organizer).

Sunday, September 26, 7:00pm, Amphitheater

Film Comment Live: The Velvet Underground & the New York Avant-Garde

Two films in this year’s NYFF lineup take us back to the ‘60s heyday of the New York avant-garde: in the Main Slate, Todd Haynes’s The Velvet Underground offers a revelatory portrait of the milieu that gave rise to the eponymous band and its boundary-pushing music, while in Revivals, Ed Lachman’s Songs for Drella captures Lou Reed and John Cale in concert, paying tribute to the late Andy Warhol with riveting intimacy. Presented by the editors of Film Comment, this special roundtable brings together Haynes, Lachman, and critic Amy Taubin to discuss the making of the two films as well as the enduring legacy of the historic moment of artistic innovation they so vividly capture.

Sunday, October 3, 4:00pm, Damrosch Park

Film Comment Live: Festival Report

For the festival’s final week, a group of critics will gather together for a spirited wrap-up discussion with Devika Girish and Clinton Krute, Co-Deputy Editors of Film Comment, about the movies they’ve seen in the NYFF59 lineup. Panelists include Molly Haskell (critic and author), Bilge Ebiri (staff critic, Vulture), and Phoebe Chen (critic and scholar).

Saturday, October 9, 7:00pm, Amphitheater


Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; and the presentation of podcasts, talks, special events, and artist initiatives. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned Lincoln Center arts complex, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partners HBO, Campari, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair’sAwards Insider; Benefactor Partners Netflix and Citi; Supporting Partners Topic Studios, Hearst, and Radeberger Pilsner; Contributing Partners Dolby, Turner Classic Movies, Manhattan Portage, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and UniFrance; and Media Partners Variety, Vulture, Deadline HollywoodThe Hollywood Reporter, WABC-7, The WNET Group, and IndieWire. All NYFF59 Talks are presented by HBO. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film at Lincoln Center.

Review: ‘Tango Shalom,’ starring Jos Laniado, Lainie Kazan, Renée Taylor, Joseph Bologna, Karina Smirnoff, Judi Beecher and Claudio Laniado

September 15, 2021

by Carla Hay

Jos Laniado and Karina Smirnoff in “Tango Shalom” (Photo courtesy of Vision Films)

“Tango Shalom”

Directed by Gabriel Bologna

Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the comedy/drama “Tango Shalom” features a predominantly white Jewish cast of characters (with some African Americans, Indian Americans and Arab Americans) representing the middle-class and working-class.

Culture Clash: A married Hasidic Jewish rabbi, who is experiencing financial problems, enters a televised tango contest with the hope of winning the grand prize, even though it is against his religious beliefs to touch a woman who is not his wife.

Culture Audience: “Tango Shalom” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in predictable movies with subpar acting and two-dimensional stereotypes of religions and ethnic cultures.

Judi Beecher and Jos Laniado in “Tango Shalom” (Photo courtesy of Vision Films)

With not enough dancing and too many bad jokes, “Tango Shalom” is filled with cringeworthy acting and shallow clichés about religions and ethnicities. This movie about a tango contest ultimately devalues the dance rehearsals. Viewers with low standards for family comedies might find something to like about this subpar film. But for people with more sophisticated tastes and for fans of dance-oriented films, “Tango Shalom” disappoints on many levels.

Directed by Gabriel Bologna, “Tango Shalom” has a screenplay co-written by three of the stars of “Tango Shalom”: the late Joseph Bologna (Gabriel’s father), Claudio Laniado and Jos Laniado. Claudio Laniado and Jos Laniado, who are brothers in real life, also portray brothers in the movie. Joseph Bologna died at the age of 82 in 2017, which tells you how long it took for this movie to get released. The Bolognas and the Laniados are also among the producers of “Tango Shalom.”

With all these family members involved in the screenwriting, producing and directing of “Tango Shalom,” it might have hindered any objectivity in seeing how embarrassing this movie makes several of the cast members look. Everything about “Tango Shalom” gives the impression that the film was made in an insular way, with no one having the courage to step up and demand improvements or to hire collaborators who could suggest better ways that this movie could have been made. Even though there are several well-known actors in the “Tango Shalom” cast, it’s easy to see why “Tango Shalom” had problems finding a company to distribute the film.

For starters, the acting is very uneven. The less-experienced actors in the cast say their lines as if they’re in a high school production, not in a movie with professional actors. Better casting decisions should have been made—and that’s ultimately the director’s responsibility. The screenplay has a lot of structural problems. “Tango Shalom” is being marketed as a dance contest movie, but there’s a lot less dancing in the movie than there should be. The scenes for the contest rehearsals are rushed in during the last third of the film.

Instead, for the first two-thirds of this dreadfully repetitive and cornball movie, the protagonist—a married Hasidic Jewish rabbi named Moshe Yehuda (played by Jos Laniado) spends a lot of time worrying about entering the contest in the first place. That’s because it’s against his religious beliefs to touch another woman who’s not his wife. Viewers are expected to believe that this dance contest, which would violate Moshe’s religious beliefs if he touched a female dance partner, is his only option to possibly get some cash quickly.

Moshe lives with his wife and five children in a crowded middle-class home in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York City’s Brooklyn borough. He wants to enter the tango contest because he’s having financial difficulties: The Hasidic school that he owns and operates is close to being evicted for non-payment of rent. Moshe has been using his personal savings to keep the school afloat, but he might have to declare personal bankruptcy if he doesn’t come up with the cash to pay off his debts. He has already maxed out his credit lines and can’t get any bank loans.

Moshe’s homemaker wife Raquel Yehuda (played by Judi Beecher) is the only person in the family who knows about these money problems. Moshe and Raquel have a good marriage overall—the movie makes a point of showing more than once that the couple’s sex life is still active—but the financial stress has caused some strain in Moshe and Raquel’s relationship. There was some trust broken because Moshe hid some of these financial problems from Raquel until he could no longer keep these problems a secret from her.

As is typical for a movie about a big family, there’s plenty of bickering among the family members. Expect to see arguments around the dining table. Moshe and Raquel’s kids are computer nerd Shlomi Yehuda (played by Nicholas Foti), who’s about 16 years old and who constantly spouts statistics and financal numbers; tomboy Shira (played by Justine Laniado), who’s about 14 years old and a huge baseball fan; Esther Yehuda (played by Samantha Rodino), who’s about 10 years old; Rifka Yehuda (played by Emma Argenziano), who’s about 7 years old; and Yeheskel Yehuda (played by Luigi Ferrara), who’s about 6 years old.

And (cliché alert) there’s always at least one high-strung, “no filter” grandparent (usually a grandmother) who ends up causing drama. In “Tango Shalom,” it’s Yoshe’s widowed mother Deborah Yehuda (played by Renée Taylor), who is prone to having crying tantrums when things don’t go her way. This movie has a lot of melodramatic acting that’s just plain awful.

Moshe has a somewhat flaky younger brother named Rahamim Yehuda (played by Claudio Laniado), who’s the type of person who always seems to be looking for his next big “get rich quick” scheme. Near the beginning of the movie, Rahamim is whining to Moshe about losing so much money in a recent financial investment that Rahamim can’t afford to pay for his upcoming wedding to his fiancée Marina Zlotkin (played by Marci Fine), who is very high-maintenance and wants a dream wedding. Marina has has a meddling mother named Leah Zlotkin (played by Lainie Kazan), who is a seamstress and very judgmental of other people.

Rahamim asks Moshe to borrow money for Rahamim and Marina’s wedding, but Moshe stalls on giving his brother an answer because Moshe is too proud to admit that he’s broke. There’s a contrived sequence of Moshe trying to look for another job to make some money. Because of his orthodox religious beliefs and his lack of work experience in anything not related to his religion, he finds out that he’s not suited for a lot of secular jobs.

However, he manages to get a low-paying job where he would have to do some physical labor, so the employer requires that Moshe take a physical exam. And what do you know, the doctor who’s doing the exam is a woman. Moshe is so horrified, he hides in the closet of the doctor’s office and eventually runs away from the office, without even telling the job that he won’t be working there after all.

Moshe (who has some limited experience in Hora dancing) then finds out about a TV contest called “Tango America” and that the grand prize would solve his financial problems. By chance, he observes a popular local instructor named Viviana Nieves (played by Karina Smirnoff) giving tango instructions. She has the type of open dance studio where people can look in the windows to see Viviana giving dance lessons to her students.

It doesn’t take long for Moshe to decide that Viviana will be his tango instructor. But what does take long is for Moshe and Viviana to get around to actually rehearsing together. He tells her up front that his religious beliefs forbid him from touching her. She’s skeptical of taking him on as a student, but she wants to enter the “Tango America” contest for personal reasons.

One of the reasons is for revenge: Two of the “Tango America” contestants are her ex-boyfriend Jose Hernandez (played by Jordi Caballero) and her former best friend Ana Parda (played by Mayte Vicens), who both betrayed Viviana. Jose recently dumped Viviana because he was cheating on Viviana with Ana. The other reason why Viviana wants to enter the contest is because she’s a widowed mother to an underage daughter who has multiple sclerosis, and Viviana needs money for experimental medical treatments that her health insurance won’t cover.

Moshe’s wife Raquel disapproves of this idea of Moshe entering a tango contest. She thinks he’s having a “spiritual crisis.” And so, Moshe consults with clergy from various religions to get their advice on whether or not he would be doing the right thing to enter the contest. It’s a very long stretch of the movie that’s dragged out to annoying levels, as if the filmmakers almost forgot that “Tango Shalom” is supposed to be a dance movie.

Moshe walks through Brooklyn and Manhattan in search of clergy who will advise him. He meets with his Grand Rabbi Menahem (played by Bern Cohen), who doesn’t encourage Moshe to enter the contest but says that Moshe should study the Torah for the answers. Moshe also consults with a Catholic priest named Father Anthony (played by Joseph Bologna); a Muslim clergyman named Imam Ahmed (played by Yasir Sitara); and a Hindu mystic named Ravi Prajna (played by Hamza Zaman).

All of the clergymen are polite and respectful, even if their dialogue is trite. Ravi Prajna says, “Big problems can be such big fun!” Moshe asks, “Why?” Ravi Prajna answers, “Because they lead to solutions.” Ravi Prajna is actually the one to come up with the solution idea that Moshe uses to become Viviana’s tango partner.

During one of these treks through the city, Moshe walks past a group of young African Americans standing on a street corner and listening to hip-hop. In a very racially condescending scene, Moshe looks intimidated just being in close proximity to African Americans, which makes him look like he forgot that he lives in Brooklyn, where a lot of African Americans live. But since “Tango Shalom” is such a corny and unrealistic movie, take a wild guess if this rabbi is going to learn some hip-hop moves from this group of black people he’s never met before.

There’s also a silly subplot of Moshe being spied on by certain rabbis and other members of of his synagogue, who are sure that Moshe will be “tempted” to commit some type of infidelity with Viviana. In real life, Smirnoff is famous for her long stint as a professional dancer on “Dancing With the Stars,” but her dancing talents are under-used in this film, which has an irritating tendency of having too much quick-cut editing in the dance scenes.

There are so many unnecessary and exasperating edits in Smirnoff’s dancing scenes, viewers will get the impression that a dancer double was used, even though Smirnoff is more than capable of doing her own dancing. In the rehearsal scenes, the movie offers very little to viewers in showing the art of tango dancing because of the gimmick solution that Moshe uses to avoid touching his tango partner. The slapstick comedy in the film is awkward and very phony-looking.

Imagine watching an episode of a dance contest on TV, and more than two-thirds of the episode was time-wasting filler of the contestants fretting about whether or not they should be in the contest. Throw in some argumentative family members, a hodgepodge of clergy and clumsily handled religious stereotypes used as punchlines—and you have an idea of what watching “Tango Shalom” is like. The scenes showing actual dancing are treated almost like an afterthought because “Tango Shalom” is too caught up in serving up stale comedy that’s as fake as the rabbi disguise that Viviana wears in the movie.

Vision Films released “Tango Shalom” in select U.S. cinemas on September 3, 2021.

2021 Met Gala: Event Photos and Videos

September 13, 2021

The 52nd annual Costume Institute Gala, also known as the Met Gala, took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on September 13, 2021—18 months after the 51st annnual Met Gala was cancelled in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 edition of the Met Gala was the first to be held in September, since the Met Gala previously was held on the first Monday of every May. The event’s theme in 2021 was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” so guests were encouraged to dress in American-inspired fashions. The Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. This year, the Met Gala was co-chaired by actor Timothée Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman, singer Billie Eilish and tennis star Naomi Osaka. It was the first time that since Anna Wintour did not co-chair the event since she became Vogue editor-in-chief. Instead, she was an honorary chair with Tom Ford, and Instagram chief Adam Mosseri. Here are photo and video highlights from the event.

Gemma Chan at the 2021 Met Gala’s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on September 13, 2021. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

2021 MTV Video Music Awards: Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, BTS are the top winners

September 12, 2021

With three awards each, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo and BTS were the top winners at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), which were held at Barclays Center in New York City on September 12. Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” won the prize for Video of the Year. Foo Fighters received the Global Icon Award, which is a non-competitive prize. The show, which was hosted by Doja Cat, was also simulcast other ViacomCBS-owned channels CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land, VH1 and The CW Network. The MTV VMAs are voted for online by the public.

Here is the list of artists and songs performed on the show.

  • The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber, “Stay”
  • Justin Bieber, “Ghost”
  • Olivia Rodrigo “Good 4 U”
  • Kacey Musgraves “Star-Crossed”
  • Twenty One Pilots “Saturday”
  • Saint Jhn “Sucks To Be You,” “Trap”
  • Ed Sheeran “Shivers”
  • Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow “Industry Baby”
  • “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” (Lil Nas X only)
  • Camila Cabello, “Don’t Go Yet”
  • Shawn Mendes and Tainy, “Summer of Love”
  • Anitta, “Girl from Rio”
  • Latto, “Big Energy,” “Muwop,” “Bitch from da Souf”
  • Doja Cat, “Been like This,” “You Right”
  • Chlöe, “Have Mercy”
  • Normani, “Wild Side”
  • Ozuna, “La Funka”
  • Foo Fighters medley: “Learn to Fly,” “Shame Shame,” “Everlong”
  • Alicia Keys and Swae Lee “Lala (Unlocked)”
  • Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
  • Busta Rhymes, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See,” “Ante Up,” “Scenario,” “Touch It,” “Look at Me Now,” “Pass the Courvoisier”
  • Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker, “Papercuts”

Presenters were Doja Cat, Tinashe, Bretman Rock, Jennifer Lopez, Cyndi Lauper, Saint Jhn, Rita Ora, Billy Porter, Avril Lavigne, Charli XCX, Leslie Grace, Conor McGregor, Halle Bailey, Wyclef Jean, Ciara, Fat Joe, Ashanti, Ja Rule, AJ McLean, Lance Bass, Nick Lachey, Billie Eilish, SZA, Tommy Lee, Swizz Beatz, David Lee Roth, Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian.

Bruce Gillmer and Den of Thieves co-founder Jesse Ignjatovic were Executive Producers for the 2021 MTV VMAs. Barb Bialkowski was Co-Executive Producer. Alicia Portugal and Jackie Barba serve as Executives in Charge of Production. Wendy Plaut was Executive in Charge of Celebrity Talent. Lisa Lauricella was Music Talent Executive.

Here is the complete list of nominees and winners:



Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records

DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “POPSTAR” (Starring Justin Bieber) – OVO / We The Best / Epic Records

Doja Cat featuring SZA – “Kiss Me More” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records*

The Weeknd – “Save Your Tears” – XO / Republic Records


Ariana Grande – Republic Records

Doja Cat – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records

Justin Bieber – Def Jam*

Megan Thee Stallion – 300 Entertainment

Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records

Taylor Swift – Republic Records


24kGoldn featuring iann dior – “Mood” – Records LLC / Columbia Records

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records

BTS – “Dynamite” – BIGHIT Music

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records

Dua Lipa – “Levitating” – Warner Records

Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License” – Geffen Records*

BEST NEW ARTIST, Presented by Facebook 

24kGoldn – Records LLC / Columbia Records

Giveon – Epic Records / Not So Fast

The Kid Laroi – Columbia Records

Olivia Rodrigo – Geffen Records*

Polo G – Columbia Records

Saweetie – Warner Records


September 2020: Wallows – “Are You Bored Yet?” – Atlantic Records

October 2020: Ashnikko – “Daisy” – Warner Records

November 2020: Saint Jhn – “Gorgeous” – Godd Complexx / HITCO

December 2020: 24kGoldn – “Coco” – Records LLC / Columbia Records

January 2021: JC Stewart – “Break My Heart” – Elektra Music Group

February 2021: Latto – “Sex Lies” – RCA Records

March 2021: Madison Beer – “Selfish” – Epic Records / Sing It Loud

April 2021: The Kid Laroi – “Without You” – Columbia Records

May 2021: Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License” – Geffen Records*

June 2021: Girl in Red “Serotonin” – World in Red / AWAL

July 2021: Fousheé – “My Slime” – RCA Records

August 2021: jxdn – “Think About Me” – DTA Records / Elektra Music Group


24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior – “Mood” – Records LLC / Columbia Records

Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records

Doja Cat featuring SZA – “Kiss Me More” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records*

Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later” – OVO / Republic Records

Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Def Jam

Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa – “Prisoner” – RCA Records


Ariana Grande – “Positions” – Republic Records

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am” – Darkroom / Interscope Records

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT Music

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records

Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Def Jam*

Olivia Rodrigo – “Good 4 U” – Geffen Records

Shawn Mendes – “Wonder” – Island Records

Taylor Swift – “Willow” – Republic Records


Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP” – Atlantic Records

Drake featuring Lil Durk – “Laugh Now Cry Later” – OVO / Republic Records

Lil Baby featuring Megan Thee Stallion – “On Me (remix)” – Quality Control / Motown

Moneybagg Yo – “Said Sum” – N-Less Entertainment / Interscope Records

Polo G – “Rapstar” – Columbia Records

Travis Scott featuring Young Thug & M.I.A. – “Franchise” – Cactus Jack / Epic Records*


Evanescence – “Use My Voice” – BMG

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records

John Mayer – “Last Train Home” – Columbia Records*

The Killers – “My Own Soul’s Warning” – Island

Kings Of Leon – “The Bandit” – RCA Records

Lenny Kravitz – “Raise Vibration” – Roxie Records / BMG


Bleachers – “Stop Making This Hurt” – RCA Records

Glass Animals – “Heat Waves” – Republic Records

Imagine Dragons – “Follow You” – KidinaKorner / Interscope Records

Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear – “My Ex’s Best Friend” – Bad Boy / Interscope Records*

Twenty One Pilots – “Shy Away” – Fueled By Ramen

Willow featuring Travis Barker – “Transparentsoul” – MSFTSMusic / Roc Nation


Bad Bunny x Jhay Cortez – “Dákiti” – The Orchard

Billie Eilish & ROSALÍA – “Lo Vas A Olvidar” – Darkroom / Interscope Records*

Black Eyed Peas and Shakira – “Girl Like Me” – Epic Records

Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy – “Un Dia (One Day)” – Universal Music Latino / NEON16 

Karol G – “Bichota” – Universal Music Latino

Maluma – “Hawái” – Sony Music US Latin


Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Saint Jhn WizKid – “Brown Skin Girl – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment / Atlantic Records*

Chris Brown and Young Thug – “Go Crazy” – Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA Records

Giveon – “Heartbreak Anniversary” – Epic Records / Not So Fast

H.E.R. featuring Chris Brown – “Come Through” – MBK Entertainment / RCA Records

SZA – “Good Days” – Top Dawg Entertainment / RCA Records


(G)I-DLE – “Dumbdi Dumbdi” – Republic Records

Blacpink and Selena Gomez – “Ice Cream” – YG Entertainment / Interscope Records

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT Music Monsta X – “Gambler” – Starship Entertainment*

Seventeen – “Ready to Love” – Pledis Entertainment

Twice– “Alcohol-Free” – JYP Entertainment Company


Billie Eilish – “Your Power” – Darkroom / Interscope Records*

Demi Lovato – “Dancing With The Devil” – Island

H.E.R. – “Fight For You” – MBK Entertainment / RCA Records

Kane Brown – “Worldwide Beautiful” – Sony Music Nashville / RCA Records

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records

Pharrell Williams featuring JAY-Z – “Entrepreneur” – Columbia Records


Billie Eilish – “Your Power” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Directed by: Billie Eilish

DJ Khaled featuring Drake – “Popstar (Starring Justin Bieber)” – OVO / We The Best / Epic Records – Directed by: Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Directed by: Lil Nas X and Tanu Muino*

Taylor Swift – “Willow” – Republic Records – Directed by: Taylor Swift

Travis Scott featuring Young Thug & M.I.A – “Franchise” – Cactus Jack / Epic Records – Directed by: Travis Scott

Tyler, The Creator – “Lumberjack” – Columbia Records – Directed by: Wolf Haley


Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, Saint Jhn, WizKid – “Brown Skin Girl” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records – Cinematography by: Benoit Soler, Malik H. Sayeed, Mohammaed Atta Ahmed, Santiago Gonzalez, Ryan Helfant*

Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am” – Darkroom / Interscope Records – Cinematography by: Rob Witt

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records – Cinematography by: Santiago Gonzalez

Justin Bieber featuring Chance The Rapper – “Holy” – RBMG/Def Jam – Cinematography by: Elias Talbot

Lady Gaga – “911” – Interscope Records – Cinematography by: Jeff Cronenweth

Lorde – “Solar Power” – Republic Records – Cinematography by: Andrew Stroud


Beyoncé, Shatta Wale, Major Lazer – “Already” – Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records – Art Direction by: Susan Linns, Gerard Santos

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records – Art Direction by: Alison Dominitz

Lady Gaga – “911” – Interscope Records – Art Direction by: Tom Foden, Peter Andrus

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Art Direction by: John Richoux

Saweetie featuring Doja Cat – “Best Friend” – Warner Records – Art Direction by: Alec Contestabile*

Taylor Swift – “willow” – Republic Records – Art Direction by: Ethan Tobman, Regina Fernandez


Bella Poarch – “Build a Bitch” – Warner Records – Visual Effects by: Andrew Donoho, Denhov Visuals, Denis Strahhov, Rein Jakobson, Vahur Kuusk, Tatjana Pavlik, Yekaterina Vetrova

Coldplay – “Higher Power” – Atlantic Records – Visual Effects by: Mathematic

Doja Cat & The Weeknd – “You Right” – Kemosabe Records / RCA Records – Visual Effects by: La Pac, Anthony Lestremau, Julien Missaire, Petr Shkolniy, Alexi Bailla, Micha Sher, Antoine Hache, Mikros MPC, Nicolas Huget, Guillaume Ho Tsong Fang, Benjamin Lenfant, Stephane Pivron, MPC Bangalore, Chanakya Chander, Raju Ganesh, David Rouxel

Glass Animals – “Tangerine” – Republic Records – Visual Effects by: Ronan Fourreau

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” – Columbia Records – Visual Effects by: Mathematic*

Pink – “All I Know So Far” – RCA Records – Visual Effects by: BUF, VFX Supervisors: Dominique Vidal & Geoffrey Niquet, VFX Producers: Annabelle Zoellin & Camille Gibrat


Ariana Grande – “34+35” – Republic Records – Choreography by: Brian Nicholson & Scott Nicholson

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT Music – Choreography by: Son Sung Deuk With BHM Performance Directing Team

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits” – Atlantic Records – Choreography by: Natricia Bernard

Foo Fighters – “Shame Shame” – Roswell Records / RCA Records – Choreography by: Nina McNeely

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records – Choreography by: Paul Roberts*

Marshmello & Halsey – “Be Kind” – Astralwerks / Capitol Records – Choreography by: Dani Vitale


Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” – Aftermath Entertainment/Atlantic Records – Editing by: Troy Charbonnet*

BTS – “Butter” – BIGHIT Music– Editing by: Yong Seok Choi from Lumpens

Drake – “What’s Next” – OVO/Republic Records – Editing by: Noah Kendal

Harry Styles – “Treat People With Kindness” – Columbia Records  –  Editing by: Claudia Wass

Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar, Giveon – “Peaches” – Def Jam  –  Editing by: Mark Mayr, Vinnie Hobbs

Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa – “Prisoner” – RCA Records

2021 New York Film Festival: venues added beyond Lincoln Center include Brooklyn Academy of Music and Anthology Film Archives

September 1, 2021

Brooklyn Academy of Music (Photo by Sam Polcer)

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces an expanded footprint for the 59th New York Film Festival (September 24 – October 10), partnering with local arthouse theaters to bring NYFF59 films to new audiences.

NYFF has partnered with Anthology Film Archives (East Village); BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) (Fort Greene, Brooklyn), Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, Westchester), and Maysles Documentary Center (Harlem) to screen a selection of films from the 59th edition throughout the festival—complete list of films and showtimes below. These screenings allow filmmakers to share their work with passionate filmgoers across New York, and provide flexibility for movie lovers citywide and beyond.

The festival will also present four outdoor screenings at Damrosch Park on the Lincoln Center campus, offering audiences another way to experience the festival. Programming is subject to change at all venues as well as Damrosch Park.

Director of NYFF Eugene Hernandez said, “Last year, we brought NYFF to drive-in screenings in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, ensuring that New Yorkers could attend the 2020 festival safely. But taking the Festival to neighborhoods beyond the Upper West Side remains our goal and this year as we celebrate cinema in a communal setting and on the big screen, we’re pleased to partner with four nonprofit cinemas. Thank you to our friends at Anthology, BAM, Maysles, and the Burns Film Center for working with us to connect the festival to new places and people! And of course, we’re also delighted to present outdoor screenings in our own backyard at Lincoln Center’s iconic Damrosch Park.”

Tickets for screenings at Anthology Film Archives, BAM, Jacob Burns Film Center, and Maysles Documentary Center will go on sale on Tuesday, September 7 at noon ET. Learn more here. Support of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to promote the art and craft of cinema.

A limited number of tickets for the Damrosch Park screenings will be made free to the public. Information to register or claim free tickets is forthcoming. Damrosch Park tickets are also available for purchase beginning September 7 at noon ET. Learn more here.


Anthology Film Archives

32 2nd Ave. New York, NY 10003

Outside Noise

Dir. Ted Fendt

Friday, October 1, 8:00pm

Social Hygiene

Dir. Denis Côté

Thursday, September 30, 8:00pm


30 Lafayette Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11217


Dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Thursday, October 7, 6:00pm

The Lost Daughter

Dir. Maggie Gyllenhaal

Tuesday, October 5, 7:00pm


Dir. Rebecca Hall

Wednesday, October 6, 7:00pm


Dir. Sarah Maldoror

Thursday, October 7, 8:30pm

Jacob Burns Film Center

364 Manville Rd. Pleasantville, NY 10570

Marx Can Wait

Dir. Marco Bellocchio

Wednesday, September 29, 5:00pm

The Souvenir Part II

Dir. Joanna Hogg

Tuesday, September 28, 7:00pm

The Tsugua Diaries

Dir. Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes

Wednesday, September 29, 7:30pm

The Worst Person in the World

Dir. Joachim Trier

Monday, September 27, 7:00pm

Maysles Documentary Center

343 Malcolm X Blvd. New York, NY 10027

Chameleon Street

Dir. Wendell B. Harris Jr.

Screening with:

James Baldwin: From Another Place (An NYFF58 Selection)

Dir. Sedat Pakay

Monday, October 4, 8:00pm


Dir. Pietro Marcello, Francesco Munzi, Alice Rohrwacher

Wednesday, October 6, 8:00pm

Damrosch Park

Amsterdam Avenue and W. 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023

Assault on Precinct 13

Dir. John Carpenter

Sunday, October 3, 7:00pm

Mississippi Masala

Dir. Mira Nair

Saturday, September 25, 7:30pm

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

Dir. Melvin Van Peebles

Sunday, September 26, 7:30pm

The Velvet Underground

Dir. Todd Haynes

Saturday, October 2, 7:00pm

NYFF59 will feature in-person screenings, as well as select outdoor and virtual events. In response to distributor and filmmaker partners and in light of festivals returning and theaters reopening across the country, NYFF will not offer virtual screenings for this year’s edition.

Proof of vaccination will be required for all staff, audiences, and filmmakers at NYFF59 venues. FLC requires all guests to maintain face coverings consistent with the current CDC guidelines inside their spaces regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, NYFF59 will adhere to a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and state and city medical experts, while adapting as necessary to the current health crisis. Visit for more information.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 24 – October 10, 2021. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent.


Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; and the presentation of podcasts, talks, special events, and artist initiatives. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned Lincoln Center arts complex, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partners HBO, Campari, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair’sAwards Insider; Benefactor Partners Netflix and Citi; Supporting Partners Topic Studios, Hearst, and Radeberger Pilsner; Contributing Partners Dolby, Turner Classic Movies, Manhattan Portage, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and UniFrance; and Media Partners Variety, Vulture, Deadline HollywoodThe Hollywood Reporter, WABC-7, The WNET Group, and IndieWire. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film at Lincoln Center.

2021 New York Film Festival: Currents slate announced

August 24, 2021

“All About My Sisters” (Photo courtesy of Icarus Films)

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces Currents for the 59th New York Film Festival (September 24 – October 10, 2021). 

“Currents is the section of the festival that attests to cinema’s continued capacity for reinvention,” said Dennis Lim, NYFF Director of Programming. “The features and shorts in this year’s program take many forms—everything from reimagined fables to archival experiments—and you’ll find some of the most personal films in the festival here, as well as some of the most political. We hope that audiences will share the sense of surprise and discovery that we experienced in putting together this lineup.” 

The Currents section includes 15 features and 36 short films, representing 27 countries, and complements the Main Slate, tracing a more complete picture of contemporary cinema with an emphasis on new and innovative forms and voices. The section presents a diverse offering of short and feature-length productions by filmmakers and artists working at the vanguard of the medium. The Opening Night selection is Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes’s (Arabian Nights, NYFF53) The Tsugua Diaries, a beguiling pandemic-era tale about three housemates in lockdown—one of several films in the section responding to the current health crisis through varying lenses; others include Shengze Zhu’s A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces, a meditation on urban spaces before and after the COVID outbreak, and Denis Côté’s Social Hygiene, an absurdist comedy in which characters exchange barbs from a humorous distance. 

A pair of features make their world festival premieres: Eléonore Yameogo, An van. Dienderen, and Rosine Mbakam’s Prism, which explores how racism remains entrenched in film culture via the biases of movie camera lighting; and pioneering film essayist Artavazd Peleshian’s Nature, an uncanny montage of humanity’s harmony and conflict with the natural world. Other nonfiction highlights include Wang Qiong’s reflection on her fractured family and China’s one-child policy in All About My Sisters; Vincent Meessen’s Just a Movement, a portrait of artist, Marxist, and anti-colonialist organizer Omar Blondin Diop; Jean-Gabriel Périot’s chronicle of the French working class over the past 70 years, Returning to Reims; Rhayne Vermette’s evocative film illustrating her native Manitoba and the Métis community, Ste. Anne; and Payal Kapadia’s A Night of Knowing Nothing, which won the Cannes Golden Eye award for best documentary. Also screening are Kyoshi Sugita’s impressionistic poetry adaptation, Haruhara-san’s Recorder; Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis’s folkloric fiction feature debut, The Tale of King Crab; NYFF56 Projections alum Ted Fendt’s 16mm-shot Outside Noise; Kiro Russo’s South American cityscape, El Gran Movimiento; and Claire Simon’s hybrid film, I Want to Talk About Duras, a portrait of experimental filmmaker Marguerite Duras as recalled by her partner. Simon, Meessen, Périot, Zhu, and Rigo de Righi & Zoppis have previously shown work in the annual FLC festival Art of the Real. 

Currents also showcases eight shorts programs, with work from notable new talents including two new films by British artist and filmmaker Morgan Quaintance; the latest work in a trilogy of experimental narrative shorts by Daniel Chew and Micaela Durand; a mesmerizing in-camera collage by the Mexican Indigenous filmmaking collective Los Ingrávidos; a ruminative essay on colonial traces in archival photographs from Philippine filmmaker Shireen Seno; Virgil Vernier with his thought provoking examination of the 2005 riots in Parisian suburbs; as well as artist Tiffany Sia’s incisive video essay on the 2019 Hong Kong protests.

Artists returning to NYFF this year include Kevin Jerome Everson, whose May June July documents the summer of 2020; Matías Piñeiro, collaborating with Galician co-director Lois Patiño for their beguiling film Sycrorax; Ericka Beckman, whose work was featured in a retrospective program in NYFF56; Tomonari Nishikawa with a new live projection performance for 16mm; and NYFF59 Main Slate filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Additional returning filmmakers include Allison Chhorn, Zachary Epcar, Eliane Esther Bots, Luise Donschen, Shun Ikezoe, Richard Tuohy, Vika Kirchenbauer, Ross Meckfessel, Guillermo Moncayo, and Aykan Safoğlu.

The Currents selection committee, chaired by Dennis Lim, includes Florence Almozini, Aily Nash, and Tyler Wilson. Nash and Wilson are the head shorts programmers for NYFF. Shelby Shaw and Madeline Whittle are programming assistants for short films, and Almudena Escobar López, Manny Lage-Valera, Marius Hrdy, Vikram Murthi, Maxwell Paparella, and Mariana Sánchez Bueno are submissions screeners. Violeta Bava, Michelle Carey, Leo Goldsmith, Rachael Rakes, and Gina Telaroli serve as NYFF program advisors.

NYFF59 will feature in-person screenings, as well as select outdoor and virtual events. In response to distributor and filmmaker partners and in light of festivals returning and theaters reopening across the country, NYFF will not offer virtual screenings for this year’s edition. 

Proof of vaccination will be required for all staff, audiences, and filmmakers at NYFF59 venues. Additionally, NYFF59 will adhere to a comprehensive series of health and safety policies in coordination with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and state and city medical experts, while adapting as necessary to the current health crisis. Visit for more information. 

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema and takes place September 24 – October 10, 2021. An annual bellwether of the state of cinema that has shaped film culture since 1963, the festival continues an enduring tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. 

NYFF59 tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, September 7 at noon ET, with early-access opportunities for FLC members and pass holders prior to this date. Experience all of Currents with an All-Access Pass, available for $140. Learn more here. Support of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its nonprofit mission to promote the art and craft of cinema.


“The Tsugua Diaries”

Currents Features

Opening Night
The Tsugua Diaries
Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes, 2021, Portugal, 102m
Portuguese and Romanian with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere

The rigorous process of moviemaking meets the torpor of pandemic life in this beguiling new film co-directed by Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes (Arabian Nights, NYFF53). A daily journal that unfolds in revelatory reverse order, this playful rug-puller begins by surveying the mundane routines of three housemates (Carloto Cotta, Crista Alfaiate, and João Nunes Monteiro) living in rural peace during the COVID lockdown: impromptu dance parties, cleaning, building a backyard butterfly house. Soon, we discover that there’s more going on beyond the limits of the camera frame. Cockeyed, funny, and slyly meta-cinematic, The Tsugua Diaries, lovingly shot on 16mm, demonstrates the possibility of artistic creation out of sheer will.

All About My Sisters
Wang Qiong, 2021, USA, 175m
Mandarin with English subtitles
North American Premiere

In her astonishing feature debut, Wang Qiong documents with unflinching and harrowing honesty her own fractured family, gradually revealing the personal and psychological effects of China’s one-child policy on the individual, the family unit, and women in society at large. At the center of the film is her sister, Jin, who remains profoundly affected by her biological parents’ abandonment of her as a baby after attempting to abort her. Adopted by her aunt and uncle, Jin resumed living with her birth parents as a teenager, yet the family remains embroiled in a legacy of trauma. Filming over the course of seven years, Wang moves far beyond the diaristic, capturing moments of vulnerability, joy, pain, and anguish with insight and delicate artistry; in excavating her own difficult history, she establishes herself as a major new voice in nonfiction cinema. An Icarus Films release.

El Gran Movimiento / The Great Movement
Kiro Russo, 2021, Bolivia/France/Qatar/Switzerland, 85m
Spanish with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere

Expanding on the hybrid narrative of his remarkable 2016 film Dark Skull, Kiro Russo has mounted a monumental, gently mystical portrait of the contemporary central South American cityscape and those who work within its bowels and environs. Set in the alternately harsh and beautiful terrain of La Paz, Bolivia and its surrounding rural areas, El Gran Movimiento follows a young miner as he looks for work alongside his friends, even as he begins to descend into a mysterious sickness. With its marvelous long-lens zoom work and increasingly dynamic, rhythmic editing, Russo’s film is a hypnotic journey into a psychological space that touches upon the supernatural.

Haruhara-san’s Recorder
Kyoshi Sugita, 2021, Japan, 120m
Japanese with English subtitles
North American Premiere

Kyoshi Sugita creates an evocative portrait of a young woman’s interior world through impressionistic action rather than psychology. Though we learn little about her, the central character, played by Chika Araki, is marvelously present: she rents an apartment on her own, gets a job in a café, and begins to find peace after a recent tragic event. Fixing his patient camera on meetings with friends, family, and strangers, lunches and teatime, and occurrences both mundane and mystical, Sugita alights upon surprising, inexplicable, and frequently moving moments that hint at the spiritual in everyday life. Adapted from a tanka (a short poem) by Naoko Higashi, Sugita’s film, which won the Grand Prize at FIDMarseille, employs the cinematic form to express the otherwise inexpressible.

I Want to Talk About Duras
Claire Simon, 2021, France, 95m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere

French director Claire Simon, a prolific maker of fiction and documentary films, unites the two forms in her surprising latest, a precise, enveloping portrait of the complex romantic relationship between epochal experimental novelist and filmmaker Marguerite Duras and her much younger, homosexual partner, Yann Andréa. Dramatized as a pair of dialogues based entirely on transcripts from a 1982 interview between Andréa (played on screen by Swann Arlaud) and journalist Michèle Manceaux (Emmanuelle Devos, an expert interrogator and a mesmerizing listener), Simon’s film underlines the sexual imbalances and power plays that defined their fraught love life while maintaining the mysteries and ambiguities that marked Duras’s singular artistic corpus. 

Just a Movement
Vincent Meessen, 2021, Belgium/France, 110m
Mandarin, French, and Wolof with English subtitles

In the late ’60s, Niger-born Marxist intellectual Omar Blondin Diop became a central organizer and communicator of anti-colonialist political theory as a student in France and as a researcher in Senegal. Diop died at the age of 26 in prison after being arrested by the Senegalese government, his suspicious death considered by many to be a likely assassination. He’s left an impression on generations of audiences with his appearance as a Maoist revolutionary in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film La Chinoise, and it is this film that serves as the backbone text, providing aesthetic and thematic inspiration for Vincent Meessen’s freewheeling yet highly disciplined documentary—a film about its own making as much as it is a visual evocation and recapitulation of Diop’s political philosophies.

Artavazd Peleshian, 2020, France/Germany/Armenia, 63m
World Festival Premiere

Legendary Armenian visual essayist Artavazd Peleshian’s first feature film in nearly 30 years is an epic return to his major theme: humanity in harmony and conflict with the natural world. Sublime and terrifying, the forces of Nature are captured in a relentless montage of found disaster videos—of capsizing icebergs, inky black dust clouds, ferocious winds, pitiless floodwaters. Rendered in stark black and white and subject to the distinctive mode of montage that Peleshian has developed over six decades, these images take on an uncanny mix of timelessness and immediacy, imparting an overwhelming experience of nature’s vast, destructive processes of regeneration, and of humanity’s precarious existence amid constantly unfolding catastrophe.

Screening with:

2 Pasolini
Andrei Ujică, 2021, France, 10m
Italian with English subtitles
World Premiere
Andrei Ujică’s 2 Pasolini follows the Italian auteur and his theological advisor, Don Andrea Carraro, on a trip through 1960s Palestine to scout locations for his 1964 biblical masterpiece The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. Through candid archival footage and surprising juxtapositions, the film tracks both Pasolini’s journey and Christ’s—across the desert, to the shores of a raging sea, and beyond.

A Night of Knowing Nothing
Payal Kapadia, 2021, France/India, 96m
Bengali and Hindi with English subtitles

Through a series of letters read aloud to an absent lover, we learn about the fears, desires, and philosophical identity of a young woman named L, a student at the Film and Television Institute of India. Through these words, and via the documentary images collected by her and her peers of contemporary Indian youths engaged in university life, writer-director Payal Kapadia has constructed a brilliantly fragmentary work of witnessing. A Night of Knowing Nothing—winner of the Golden Eye award for best documentary at this year’s Cannes Film Festival—is a testament to the inseparability of life, film, politics, and dreams, while functioning as an essential portrait of the ongoing struggle for resistance from discrimination. 

Outside Noise
Ted Fendt, 2021, Germany/South Korea/Austria, 61m
German and English with English subtitles
North American Premiere

The latest feature from Philadelphian micro-independent treasure Ted Fendt (Classical Period, NYFF56) finds the filmmaker, writer, projectionist, and translator in a contemplative mode, shooting for the first time abroad. With his customary mix of narrative restraint and intellectual curiosity, Fendt follows a small group of young women through Berlin and Vienna over the course of several months, particularly Daniela, who has just returned from traveling in New York and is dealing with a bout of insomnia. Shot on 16mm and glowing with natural light, Outside Noise—co-written by Fendt and his two lead actors, Daniela Zahlner and Mia Sellmann—is an authentic depiction of the tremors and pleasures of the in-between years of our early thirties.

Eléonore Yameogo, An van. Dienderen, and Rosine Mbakam, 2021, Belgium, 78m
French and English with English subtitles
World Premiere

Among the many ways that racism is deeply entrenched in our film culture is a technical one: the lighting for movie cameras has always been calibrated for white skin, with other production tools reflecting the same bias throughout cinema history. Three filmmakers collectively explore the literal, theoretical, and philosophical dimensions of that reality in this discursive, playful, and profound work of nonfiction. In a series of thematically linked, provocative discussions and interrogations, Eléonore Yameogo from Burkina Faso, Belgian An van. Dienderen, and Rosine Mbakam from Cameroon chart the making of their own film, while exploring the cinematic construction of whiteness and how this relates to power, privilege, and the myth of objectivity. An Icarus Films release.

Returning to Reims
Jean-Gabriel Périot, 2021, France, 83m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere

In just over 80 minutes, filmmaker Jean-Gabriel Périot provides a fleet, thorough, and incisive sociological examination of the French working class over the past 70 years. Loosely adapting Didier Eribon’s 2009 memoir Returning to Reims, in which the author’s journey back to his hometown in northern France became a reckoning with his family’s history and politics, Périot weaves his own nonfiction tapestry, using decades’ worth of artfully deployed archival footage, film clips, and TV news reports to illustrate the rise, fall, and hopeful rebirth of the country’s proletariat, as well as how social identity is gradually constructed. Narrated by Adèle Haenel and structured in two distinct halves—the personal and the political—Periot’s sensationally edited film is an urgent reminder that the moral health of a nation is dependent on how it treats its citizens.

A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces
Shengze Zhu, 2021, USA, 87m
Without dialogue, featuring Chinese and English text
U.S. Premiere

Documentarian Shengze Zhu, who was born and raised in China and studied filmmaking in the United States, contrasts mid-pandemic surveillance video of Wuhan’s empty streets with footage she’d captured before the COVID outbreak in this becalmed, wordless meditation on the vulnerability and resilience of urban spaces. Interspersed with her exquisitely composed images of life and hope along the Yangtze River are pieces of on-screen text translating the poignant, sometimes wrenching letters written to loved ones affected by illness and death. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces is a work of dissolution and regeneration, architecture and landscape, a portrait of a city and a world in transition.

Social Hygiene
Denis Côté, 2021, Canada, 76m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere

The versatile and mischievous Quebecois filmmaker Denis Côté (A Skin So Soft, NYFF55) has made an absurdist comedy that’s incidentally perfect for the pandemic era. Constructed as a series of frank and often hilarious repartees between an insolent petty thief named Antonin and a succession of largely fed-up women—who range from sister to wife to lover to tax collector—Côté’s film situates its characters in elegant outdoor tableaux in the Quebec countryside, keeping a safe, proper, and humorous distance from one another as they verbally parry and thrust in static long takes. Unexpectedly traversing time, with characters appearing in either period or contemporary dress depending on the context of their conversation, Social Hygiene is a sly reminder that our present-day culture of moral confrontation was ever thus.

Ste. Anne
Rhayne Vermette, 2021, Canada, 80m
English and French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere

In her evocative, collage-like 16mm film, Rhayne Vermette immerses the viewer in the sounds, textures, and atmosphere of her native Manitoba to limn the outer edges of a twilight-toned narrative centering on a long-missing young woman’s unexpected return to her indigenous Métis community. Unbeholden to temporal or structural boundaries, Vermette uses Renée’s reappearance as the anchor point for a work of dreams and memory. Shot over the course of 14 months, incorporating scripted and improvised elements, Ste. Anne is as much a fragmentary portrait of the seasons as it is about the people whose lives are dictated in part by nature’s flow.

The Tale of King Crab
Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis, 2021, Italy/Argentina/France, 99m
Italian and Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere

This rich, engrossing fiction feature debut from documentary filmmakers Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis takes storytelling itself as its subject. Based on a legendary figure about whom the filmmakers first heard while making their previous collaboration, 2015’s Il Solengo, this rousing, bifurcated tale follows the improbable adventures of Luciano (a bewitching Gabriele Silli), a village outcast in late-19th-century rural Italy. In the film’s first half, set in the countryside near Rome, his life is undone by alcohol, forbidden love, and an escalating quarrel with a local aristocrat; in the second, Luciano is in the distant Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego, hunting for a mythic treasure with the help of a compass-like crab. Rigo de Righi and Zoppis have created a highly unconventional narrative of redemption, alternating images of grandeur and folkloric idiosyncrasy. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release.

Currents Shorts

Program 1: Acts of Seeing 

Day Is Done
Zhang Dalei, 2021, China, 24m
Mandarin with English subtitles
North American Premiere

A miniature portrait of a family’s multiple generations, Day Is Done follows a young film student—on the eve of his departure to study in Russia—as he accompanies his parents on a rare visit to his grandfather in Inner Mongolia. Delicately observed and minutely detailed, Zhang’s film captures the subtle harmonies and discordances of the different generations occupying, for a brief time, the same space and the same moment of calm.

Daniel Chew and Micaela Durand, 2021, USA, 23m
World Premiere

Vivid interruptions of sound and images fragment the psychic landscape of a 38-year-old woman who becomes obsessed with the social media presence of the young woman who broke up her relationship. The latest entry in Chew and Durand’s ongoing examination of the embodied experience of our hybrid online-IRL existence, 38 mines contemporary life’s nuanced exchanges between longing and looking, voyeurism and the desire to be seen.

Luise Donschen, 2021, Germany, 14m
English and Japanese with English subtitles
World Premiere

Hovering between the commonplace and the mysterious, ELLE follows a father and daughter on an early spring visit to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens. At once highly formal and thrumming with life, the liminal space of the Garden becomes the stage for a series of fleeting encounters, which director Luise Donschen explores with a precise sensitivity to the seen and the unseen.

Lois Patiño and Matías Piñeiro, 2021, Spain/Portugal, 21m
Portuguese and Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere

Mother of Caliban and imprisoner of Ariel, Sycorax remains offstage for the duration of The Tempest, dismissed by Prospero as an evil sorceress. In this collaboration between Lois Patiño and Matías Piñeiro, she becomes the central subject, as a director (played by Piñeiro regular Agustina Muñoz), with the help of local women from a village in the Azores, attempts to give a face and voice to this silenced character. 

Program 2: Critical Mass

Do Not Circulate
Tiffany Sia, 2021, Hong Kong, 17m
World Premiere

The timeline and vertical aspect ratio of social media set the formal parameters for Tiffany Sia’s essay film, which follows the image trail of a single event in Hong Kong from the 2019 protests. Reckoning with this event, a relentless voiceover reframes archival media salvaged in the midst of disappearance and erasure, drawing upon a traumatic media memory, summoning ghosts and occult forces alongside disinformation and rumor.

Dreams Under Confinement
Christopher Harris, 2020 USA, 3m

Frenzied voices on the Chicago Police Department’s scanner call for squad cars and reprisals during the 2020 uprising in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as Google Earth tracks the action through simulated aerial views of urban spaces and the vast Cook County Department of Corrections, the country’s third-largest jail system. In Christopher Harris’s Dreams Under Confinement, the prison and the street merge into a shared carceral landscape.

In Flow of Words
Eliane Esther Bots, 2021, Netherlands, 22m
Bosnian, Croatian, English, and Serbian with English subtitles
North American Premiere

In Eliane Esther Bots’s film, three interpreters for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia share their experiences with translating the testimony of witnesses and victims of genocide. But how can an interpreter—who is so physically and vocally central to the tribunal’s proceedings—remain an objective medium for testimony? How can they provide a simple conduit for meaning, stripped of the original voice’s incommunicable sounds of grief, sympathy, and anger?

All of Your Stars Are but Dust on My Shoes
Haig Aivazian, 2021, Lebanon, 18m
English, Arabic, and French with English subtitles
Provocatively scrambling geography and chronology, Haig Aivazian’s densely associative montage writes a history of illumination as it intersects with the technological evolution of state and police control. From New York to Paris to Beirut, from the origins of whale oil lanterns to the era of predictive policing, this video assemblage accounts for the use of light and visibility in the service of social management, and creates space for a counter-optics of opacity and resistance.

Virgil Vernier, 2021, France, 27m
French with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Through television news bulletins, Kindertotenlieder revisits the 2005 riots in France, sparked by the deaths of two teenagers from the Parisian banlieue of Clichy-sur-Bois, who were killed during a police chaseHere, the static formal conventions of TV news—vox pop interviews, B-roll of burning cars, outraged neighbors—slowly reveal a subtler narrative beneath the surface: one of neglect, oppression, and ethnic and class divisions.

Program 3: Free Form

Personality Test
Justin Jinsoo Kim, 2021, South Korea/USA, 8m
Korean with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
A walk in the woods, an encounter with an animal, a body of water. On the soundtrack, a woman’s voice responds to an internet personality quiz, while grainy, inkjet printouts—animated and collaged by the filmmaker—approximate the imagined scenes. Distortions in the reproduction of word and picture accompany the blur of memory and fantasy, past experience and desire.

Dog Star Descending
Aykan Safoğlu, 2020, Germany/Turkey, 12m
German with English subtitles
North American Premiere

Images and objects warp under the scrolling gaze of a scanner bed. Photographs, shredded and reassembled, spark reminiscences in the artist’s voiceover, which relates the intertwined stories of a family trip to the island of Imbros and of his education at a bilingual German-Turkish public school. The coiling timeline of present experience overlaps with other stories detailing the complex intersection of these two cultures, and of personal and intergenerational memories.

Homage to the Work of Philip Henry Gosse
Pablo Martín Weber, 2020, Argentina, 22m
Spanish with English subtitles

Pablo Martín Weber’s video essay forges a link between the creative abundance of computer imaging and artificial intelligence and the speculative cosmologies of Philip Henry Gosse, a 19th-century naturalist and advocate for science. Just as Gosse became obsessed with reconciling the geological record with the Biblical account of the Earth’s creation, Weber attempts to understand the digital image’s new world of infinitely malleable data.

(No Subject)
Guillermo Moncayo, 2021, France/Colombia, 29m
Spanish with English subtitles
North American Premiere
A film about a zookeeper and his renewed relationship with his estranged daughter is fragmented and interrupted by the filmmaker’s own voice, reading an email to his sister about the roots of this story in their own shared history with an absent father. Through memory, dreams, and fiction, (No Subject) probes the various ways of representing the past in order to process and break free of it.

Program 4: Still Life

Vika Kirchenbauer, 2021, Germany, 15m
U.S. Premiere

THE CAPACITY FOR ADEQUATE ANGER. Courtesy of Vika Kirchenbauer.

A collage of ephemera both personal and public, The Capacity for Adequate Anger traverses the distance between present and past in an examination of the artist’s relationship to class identity. Through voiceover and flashes of imagery—family photographs; the ’90s media representation of AIDS; Marie Antoinette; a gender-ambiguous anime character—Kirchenbauer’s autobiographical video contemplates the sociological dimensions of emotions from shame to envy to rage, and what forms of political agency they make possible or impede.

A Human Certainty
Morgan Quaintance, 2021, UK, 21m
U.S. Premiere
Voices from the past haunt A Human Certainty, whose entangled threads link its multifarious narratives of suffering: a recent break-up; the romantic sweep of mid-century pop music; Weegee’s crime-scene photography; and images taken by the artist’s grandmother, a spirit medium, on her travels in Asia and Africa. Here, Quaintance’s montage becomes a codec for assembling these disparate threads, and for making sense of mortality and loss in all its forms.

Home When You Return
Carl Elsaesser, 2021, USA, 30m
World Premiere
Superimposing the stories of two women—the filmmaker’s late grandmother and the amateur filmmaker Joan Thurber Baldwin—Home When You Return explores the psychogeographies of mourning through a variety of modes, from documentary to melodrama. Emptied and put up for sale following its matriarch’s passing, the family home becomes the site of a winding tour through polymorphic representations of the past in media and memory.

Program 5: Pattern Language

Cutting the Mushroom
Mike Crane, 2021 USA, 22m
World Premiere
An email correspondence between the filmmaker and a mysterious online art dealer in the Baltic develops into a strangely intimate exchange about art and authenticity, media of questionable provenance, digressive Wikipedia research, and—to borrow the title of Hans Richter’s 1947 film—dreams that money can buy. 

Ross Meckfessel, 2021, USA, 12m
World Premiere

Inescapable forces intersect in Ross Meckfessel’s Estuary when the increasingly unreal landscape of everyday life is invaded by the hyperreality of computer graphics and AI social-media influencers. The analog and the digital vie and blend with each other as Nature, dissected and repackaged, reemerges in pixel form.

The Canyon
Zachary Epcar, 2021, USA, 15m
The boxy architecture and cordoned greenery of luxury housing developments populate a series of uniform urban spaces, which Zachary Epcar depicts as a sequence of precise frames, stock gestures, and preprogrammed phrases, drifting into entropy. What wayward flows, what eruptions of energy, can be found beneath the flat surfaces and grid-like structures of The Canyon?

Reach Capacity
Ericka Beckman, 2020, USA, 15m
U.S. Premiere
In Reach Capacity, the rapacious world of the urban real-estate market takes on the form of a playfully obsessive, yet violently deterministic system. Combining mechanical musical numbers, digital objects, and board-game parameters, Ericka Beckman converts lower Manhattan into a giant Monopoly board upon which real-estate speculators and contracted labor compete for dominance in a programmatic dance. To see the future, follow the money.

Program 6: Camera Lucida

Here is the Imagination of the Black Radical
Rhea Storr, 2020, UK, 10m
World Premiere

Here is the Imagination of the Black Radical. Courtesy of Rhea Storr.

The music, movements, and oral histories of Junkanoo—a distinctive Bahamian cultural medium in the form of a street carnival—set the rhythm of Rhea Storr’s video. Located in this vernacular tradition is an emergent Black radical imagination, one that envisions an Afrofuturism of the present, which the film reworks and remixes.

Strange Object
Miranda Pennell, 2020, UK, 15m
U.S. Premiere
Aerial photographs from 1920 of a colonized territory in the Horn of Africa provide the material for Miranda Pennell’s essay film, a meditation on image-making, erasure, and the writing of history. The abstract patterns, blurry forms, and disorienting scales of these photographs and their warped transposition into descriptive text testify to an expansive project of imperial capture, a doubling of the world in imagery and language.

To Pick a Flower
Shireen Seno, 2021, Philippines, 17m
North American Premiere
Shireen Seno’s video essay explores the transformation and commodification of nature through archival photographs from the American colonial occupation of the Philippines in the first half of the 20th century. These images testify to what the voiceover calls “the sticky relationship between humans and nature and their entanglements with empire”—an ambivalent dependence on natural resources that drives the colonial project and implicates photography, with its concurrent processes of preservation, transmutation, and destruction.

Morgan Quaintance, 2020, UK, 28m
Superimposing the working-class movements of Chicago’s South Side in the 1960s and South London in the 1980s, South draws upon alternative media archives and cultural ephemera to form a creative diasporic geography of anti-racism and liberation—one that poses the question of how to forge relations and solidarity across time, cultural divisions, and intra-class antagonisms.

Program 7: New Sensations

May June July
Kevin Jerome Everson, 2021, USA, 8m
North American Premiere
Kinetic and fragmentary, May June July is a document of the summer of 2020, distilled through Kevin Jerome Everson’s distinctively contrapuntal audiovisual assemblage. It is also a dance film: the camera enacts balletic encounters, first with a roller-skater in the street against a sonic background of protest chants and drumming, then among flowers and fireflies against the inky black of night.

Grandma’s Scissors
Erica Sheu, 2021, Taiwan/USA, 6m
U.S. Premiere
Guided by the words of her grandmother, the filmmaker explores the synesthetic properties of memory. Images give way to haptic experience via a range of textures—of sea, celluloid, paper, and pencil traces, of raindrops drifting in and out of focus—linking the arts of textiles and montage into a shared artisanal tradition.

Blind Body
Allison Chhorn, 2021, Australia, 15m
Khmer with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
As abstract shapes come into focus, dim memories surface. With Blind Body, Allison Chhorn offers an impressionistic portrait of her grandmother Kim Nay, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge. Partially blind, Kim spends her days in a mostly sonic and textural world, in which the sound of rain, the voices of Khmer radio, and distant birdsong summon the sensations of a lost homeland.

If I could name you myself (I would hold you forever)
Hope Strickland, 2021, UK, 8m
North American Premiere
Wake and soil, skin and voice: Hope Strickland’s film locates a legacy of slavery and colonial exploitation beneath the archive’s official chronicle, in the deep historical memory of the body. If I could name you myself (I would hold you forever) sings an alternate history of resistance—familial, elemental, and sensuous.

What is it that you said?
Shun Ikezoe, 2021, Japan, 20m
Japanese with English subtitles
World Premiere
The sun’s path outside the window. The slow cycle of the seasons. A dead cat found behind a curtain. A neighbor yelling while dreaming. Images, sounds, spoken and written text try to correspond, gently interrupting each other. Shun Ikezoe’s What is it that you said? tracks the quiet movement of light and time, marking the progress of a year of small movements and intimate, imperfect exchanges.

In and Out a Window
Richard Tuohy, 2021, Australia, 16mm, 13m
U.S. Premiere
The literal frame of a window overlooking a small garden becomes the scene through which Richard Tuohy’s film exploits the myriad plastic potentialities of the cinematic frame. Immersive and stroboscopic, In and Out a Window offers its own variations on cinema’s mechanical segmentations of space and time, opening up a portal to undiscovered dimensions and new phenomenologies.

Night Colonies
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021, Thailand, 14m
Thai with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Night Colonies is a microscopic rumination on the unobserved passage of time. Humming fluorescent lights illuminate a bedroom at night, drawing Chiang Mai’s subtropical nightlife into a tiny, intimate, and temporary cohabitation—a buzzing and bustling ecosystem of insects and lizards, nested within the human domestic space.

Program 8: Vibrant Matter

Daïchi Saïto, 2021, Canada, 35mm, 30m
U.S. Premiere
The hand-processed celluloid of earthearthearth explodes with oranges, purples, and aquamarines, transforming the sweeping desert mountain ranges of the Andes into a world of green-gold dawns, vermilion sands, and dense, granular atmospheres. Accompanied by an undulating improvised soundtrack by Jason Sharp, Saïto’s film depicts an alien, irradiated world that is at once interior, cosmic, and fiercely material.

Los Ingrávidos, 2021, Mexico, 16m
U.S. Premiere
Drawing on the ancient Nahuatl concept of the animating soul or life force, Tonalli engages the ritualistic powers of the cinema, summoning fire, flowers, and many moons into a frenetic and mesmerizing in-camera collage. Here, amid thickly swirling images and textured abstractions, the gods of creation and fertility manifest, dissolving into iridescent colors and dense, corporeal rhythms.

Manuela de Laborde, 2021, Mexico/Germany, 16mm, 22m
North American Premiere
Fictions conjures representations as if imagined from the perspective of the plant world. ‘Lithic’ lifeforms made out of ceramic and organic matter were filmed in motion by a mobile of film cameras. Layered in Laborde’s superimpositions, these objects become performers alongside other images—sunlight through jungle flora, scintillating film grain—interacting in their own fictive world of pulsating matter.

Six Seventy-Two Variations, Variation 1
Tomonari Nishikawa, 2021, USA, 16mm, 25m
World Premiere
In this live projection performance for 16mm film, Tomonari Nishikawa explores the material specificity of the cinematic apparatus through a real-time manipulation of its physical elements. Scratching directly onto the emulsion of a looping filmstrip in the midst of projection, Nishikawa creates animated abstractions in a pattern of horizontal lines, and also generates the film’s score, a percussive throbbing of noise.