By Ray Pride

Filmmaker, IFP And MOMA Announce “Best Picture Not Playing” Series


For immediate release



NEW YORK (November 7, 2013) – Filmmaker Magazine, Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) and The Museum of Modern Art announce today the five films selected for the organiza- tions’ annual “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” series, running November 15 – 18 in MoMA’s Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2. They are: Eddie Mullins’ Doomsdays; Kevin Jerome Everson’s The Island of St. Matthews; Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love; Aaron Douglas John- ston’s My Sister’s Quinceanera and Benjamin Greené’s Survival Prayer.

For the eighth year running, the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You series presents highlights from the festival circuit that have yet to be picked up for theatrical distribution. Curat- ed by the Filmmaker Magazine editors, MoMA Department of Film Curatorial Assistant Sophie Cavoulacos, and IFP Senior Director, Programming, Milton Tabbot, the series selects from a wide range of work, including emerging narrative and documentary filmmakers as well as visual and conceptual artists working in the film medium. Past selections include Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Alex Karpovsky’s Red Flag, Mark Jackson’s Without, Laurel Nakadate’s The Wolf Knife, Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues, So Yong Kim’s In Between Days, and Ronald Bronstein’s Frownland.

About the series, Filmmaker Editor-in-Chief Scott Macaulay said, “As the distribution options open to filmmakers are constantly upended by new technologies and viewing patterns, the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You series makes a stand for great pictures whose pleasures are enhanced by that most basic of cinematic pleasures — watching them on the big screen with an engaged audience.”

Details of the five films follow:

It Felt Like Love
2013. USA. Directed by Eliza Hittman. Awkwardly adrift one summer in the seaside districts of South Brooklyn, 14-year-old Lila (newcomer Gina Piersanti, in a raw, startling debut) tries to mimic the cool of her precocious older best friend as she gropes toward sexual awareness by way of one local boy. In her first feature, director Hittman exhibits a real formal control, while Piersanti brings a heartbreaking impassivity to her character. Hittman keeps a cool, analytical dis- tance from her protagonist’s bad behavior while evocatively accessing her interior states through expert framing and expressive sound design. A Sundance 2013 premiere that has been a hit at U.S. and international festivals, It Felt Like Love has earned comparisons to the work of Lynne Ramsay and Catherine Breillat even as Hittman’s take on adolescent female sexuality and New York’s working-class neighborhoods contains an approach and imagination that’s wholly its own. 82 min.

The Island of St. Matthews
2013. USA. Directed by Kevin Jerome Everson. Combining documentary and lyrical modes, Kevin Jerome Everson creates a portrait of Westport, a Mississippi town ravaged by the 1973 flood of the Tombigbee River, “the flood that carried everything away.” Residents recall high- ways under water, destroyed homes, and the loss of family heirlooms and memories—including Everson family photographs, once stored in the Westport home of his aunt. Interspersed with these reminiscences are recurring vignettes: a baptism being performed in the water, a water ski- er riding along the river, and long, painterly takes of calm waters lapping up against the dam. Everson’s film honors the losses caused by the flood but, like his interlocutors, depicts the river as an immutable force, a source of both life and death. 64 min.
Survival Prayer
2013. USA/Canada. Directed by Benjamin Greené. Washington-based filmmaker Greené’s debut feature is a hypnotic cinematic portrait of a people out of time. Captured with stillness and re- strained poeticism, Survival Prayer introduces audiences to the residents of Haida Gwaii, a re- mote archipelago off the northwest coast of Canada, who live simple lives as contemporary hunter-gatherers, relying on age-old practices as they reject modernity and the slow erosion of their culture. Beautifully shot by Greené and featuring a shimmering, evocative score by Michael Beharie, Survival Prayer won a Special Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival. 70 min.
My Sister’s Quinceanera
2013. USA. Directed by Aaron Douglas Johnston. Set in small-town Iowa, My Sister’s Quinceanera eloquently, gently explores the burden of family responsibility on a young Mexican American man who yearns to see the wider world, while his sister’s titular coming-of-age ritual dominates a long Midwestern summer. A dress must be bought, dances must be practiced, and tentative romances form, but for this working-class, matriarchal family, a seismic shift is occur- ring just beneath the surface as Silas (an excellent Silas Garcia) makes tentative plans to leave the cornfields and strip malls of his hometown for nothing else in particular while his fatherless family struggles to maintain the rituals of middle class life. Johnson’s naturalism, complete with local non-professionals in the lead roles, is pitched just right; the film exudes an emotional com- plexity and unforced sweetness that finds the sublime in the seemingly mundane. 72 min.
2013. USA. Directed by Eddie Mullins. In this apocalyptic comedy, a pair of deadbeats spends their days breaking into off-season vacation homes in the Catskills, living off stocked pantries


and destroying property as a lark. Dirty Fred has a penchant for whiskey and women, while the pugnacious Bruho destroys any car in his path to curb the nation’s reliance on peak oil—which is bound to bring about the world’s end before too soon. The story unfolds in daily episodes, as the duo brings acolytes into their ranks and as the gang moves from one squat to the next. This clever debut feature puts forth an irreverent refusenik mantra: in the age of global warming, eco- nomic crises, and government shutdowns, why not “drop out, break in, pig out”? 91 min.


Under the guidance of founder and editor-in-chief, Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine has grown into the foremost magazine in the independent film community. Published by IFP – the Independent Filmmaker Project — Filmmaker is the go-to publication for writers, directors, pro- ducers, film industry representatives, and others working in independent film. Written by work- ing independent filmmakers, and with a unique, authoritative voice, Filmmaker’s print edition is published quarterly with new interviews, festival reports, and technical and business news ap- pearing on its website daily. Learn more at:


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The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) is the premier organization for independent filmmak- ers, championing the future of storytelling in the digital age by fostering a vibrant and sustain- able independent storytelling community. IFP guides filmmakers in the art, technology, and business of independent storytelling through its annual programming and with the introduction of


the state-of-the-art Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where storytellers from multiple disciplines, indus- tries, and platforms create, collaborate, and connect.

IFP has supported over 7,000 films and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers over its 34-year history, developing 350 new feature and documentary films each year. IFP represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers in New York City and around the world.

In addition to its workshops, seminars, conferences, mentorships, and Filmmaker Magazine, IFP’s annual programs include The Gotham Independent Film AwardsTM, Independent Film WeekTM, EnvisionTM, and the Independent Filmmaker LabsTM.


Founded in 1979, IFP is the largest and oldest not-for-profit dedicated to independent film. For more information and to become a member, visit


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon