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NYC Film Festivals

Red Shift Expands its Borders

A scene from Youngwoong Jang's animated short Mirage, screening this week at the Red Shift Festival (Photo: RSF)

By Elena Marinaccio

For those who left their senior year astronomy notes at home, the name of the Red Shift Festival (Feb. 28 to March 2) refers to the cosmological "red shift" observed in faraway galaxies that scientists use to prove the expansion of our universe. Now in its fifth year, Red Shift continues to recognize those expanding their own horizons, geographically or otherwise, with 36 films representing 21 countries, emphasizing the full spectrum of nomadic, travel and immigrant experiences from filmmakers working outside of their country of origin.

The film festival will observe its opening at the Pioneer Theater on Wednesday night with several shorts from young filmmakers in a program dubbed "The Mint Scene." The night also features the US premiere of A Journey Of Dmitry Shostakovich, preceded by what festival director (and one of several former Soviet Bloc artists who founded the event) Yuriy Gavrilenko declares the absolute jewel of whole affair: Youngwoong Jang's 3-D animated short about the endless cycle of desire.

"In this program there is a film called Mirage from an animator from Korea," Gavrilenko, himself an accomplished documentarian, recently told The Reeler. "And from my point of view, this person has changed, completely, my perception of 3-D animation. This is the first time in my history with 3-D I see an amazingly told story -- so emotionally, in such a tender, such a gentle way of storytelling. Finally! Someone did something with a touch of heart."

As a festival dedicated to understanding the itinerant experience would never be content to drop anchor at just one location, on Thursday the festival will journey to Anthology Film Archives for two more nights of playful video art shorts, animation clips, a showing of Arto Halonen's Pavlov's Dog and several documentaries. The program "But Don't Feel at Home," which Gavrilenko describes as an extension of the festival's profile, showcases two homegrown films befitting a more open-ended interpretation of the nomadic theme: Protest March (filmed during the 2006 G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg) and L'eau De Vie: Un Film De Jean Luc Godard (filmed during the 2005 Art Basel festival in Miami).

"The idea of the nomad is still a geographic term, but it's nomadism in terms of culture we're trying to work with here" Gavrilenko said. "Many people know the feeling of being at home, but feeling like you're not at home."

The Red Shift Festival opens Feb. 28 at the Pioneer Theater; it continues Mar. 1-2 at Anthology Film Archives for screenings. Visit the festival's Web site for ticket, program and schedule information.

Posted at February 27, 2007 3:17 PM

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