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NYC Film Festivals

The Lower East Side of the Story

The unsinkable LES rock legend Arto Lindsay in Henry Hills' Money, screening Saturday at the LES Film and Video Festival (Photo: Henry Hills/Theater for the New City)

By Chris Willard

The Lower East Side has long been considered one of the most creative communities in New York City, serving as home for generations of artists, musicians and filmmakers trying to break through. A collection of those filmmakers will be showcased Saturday for the 12th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts Film and Video Festival, which features a variety of new and old films each year that are either produced by Lower East Side filmmakers or are about the Lower East Side.

The subjects of this year’s film selections range from economic problems facing avant garde artists in the Eighties to a rock and roll songstress searching for friends and fame. “I wanted to have stuff from film history and Lower East side film history," siad Joaquin de la Puente, now in his second year of programming the festival from submissions and his own viewing throughout the year. "My specific interest is in political films, so there were various things I had in mind from the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, etc. (I) went about seeing which of those films I could get and then combined that with the stuff given by the submission process."

The festival will also offer filmgoers the opportunity to meet and chat with the directors, actors and crew members of many of the featured selections. Director Gary Brackett will be on site to discuss New Science, a video originally produced as a stage show that ponders civilization and humanity. Clayton Patterson will make an appearance for the screening of his controversial video footage Tompkins Square Police Riot, Aug. 1988, in which the filmmaker captured the violent protest and police battering at Tompkins Square Park. Also making appearances are George Birimisa (Looking for America [Portrait of a Sex Addict]), Iris Goodwin (Silent Cries of a Child), Michael Patrick Kelley (Operation Lysistrata) and Philly, the star of Once and Future Queen.

Director Griffith Iffith will screen Item Return. “(It's) about a sort of werewolf in Germany that receives orders to return some items to a German recycling center which is at the end of the world, according to the movie," said Puente, who cited the film as one of his favorites screening at the festival. "It’s a very imaginative, bureaucratic fantasy movie.”

The three-day arts festival at Theater for the New City also features live theatrical performances, visual arts exhibitions, poetry readings, food and vendors. All events and screenings are free and open to the public. For more event and program information, visit the festival Web site.

Posted at May 24, 2007 2:37 PM

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