While the 2020 edition was understandably canceled due to the pandemic, BAMcinemaFest will be returning this year for a virtual edition from June 23-39, the same month that BAM Rose Cinemas will reopen––specifically on June 11.
The lineup for the annual festival, which celebrates some of the finest new offerings in indie filmmaking, is pared down from the standard in-person edition but still features five New York premieres, including Bassam Tariq’s Mogul Mowgli starring Riz Ahmed; the world premiere of BAMcinemaFest alum Ougie Pak’s Clytaemnestra; an artist spotlight on the work of Fox Maxy; as well as documentary and experimental shorts programs, and filmmaker Q&As.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have BAMcinemaFest back virtually this year,” said Jesse Trussell, BAM’s senior film programmer. “We’re so happy to present work by this collection of pathbreaking, incisive, formally and politically daring filmmakers—and to help these films find a wide audience with our new virtual platform. As film at BAM reemerges with BAMcinemaFest and the reopening of our cinemas, we can’t wait to show everyone what’s next.”
This year’s BAMcinemaFest selection committee members are Natalie Erazo and Jesse Trussell, with assistance from Andreea Drogeanu.
Check out the line-up below, including links to reviews where available.
Clytaemnestra (2021) Dir. Ougie Pak. When a young South Korean actress is invited to Greece to perform in a renowned playwright’s adaptation of Agamemnon, she believes she’s landed the role of a lifetime. However, what begins as a dream opportunity soon descends into a hellish nightmare in this new work by BAMcinemaFest alum Ougie Pak. 70min. World Premiere
Fruits of Labor (2021) Dir. Emily Cohen Ibañez. A Mexican-American teenage farmworker dreams of graduating high school when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become her family’s breadwinner. Fruits of Labor is a lyrical, coming of age documentary feature about adolescence, nature, and ancestors. 76min. New York Premiere
I Was a Simple Man (2021) Dir. Christopher Makoto Yogi. Set on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawai’i, the island’s ambient noises—the waves, the wind, the birds—are present throughout the film’s time-shifting chapters, from the pre-World War II sugar plantations of Oahu to Hawai’i statehood to the present gentrification of Honolulu. As the main character gets sicker, he is visited by ghosts of his past, including his wife, Grace (Constance Wu), who helps shepherd him into the beyond. 100min. New York Premiere
Ludi (2021) Dir. Edson Jean. Ludi, a hardworking and exhausted nurse, battles coworkers, clients and one impatient bus driver to learn her self worth as she chases the “American dream” in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. 80min. New York Premiere
Mogul Mowgli (2020) Dir. Bassam Tariq. Zed, a young British rapper, is about to start his first world tour, when a crippling illness strikes him down and he is forced to move back in with his family. He tries to find himself between an international music career and Pakistani family traditions. 90min. New York Premiere
Superior (2021) Dir. Erin Vassilopoulos. When Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She is greeted there by her estranged sister, Vivian, a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. Though they are identical twins, they live opposite lives. When Marian’s haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide, catapulting both sisters into grave danger. 99min. New York Premiere
Kaleidoscopic: Recent Films by Fox Maxy
Trickster forces lead us through curious journeys of time, memory, identity, environments, and opposition within these recent films by artist Fox Maxy.
Maat Means Land (2020, 30min)
San Diego (2020, 32min)
Watertight (Rough cut, 2022, 40min)
Gush (2021, 30min)
Shorts Program 1: Intercepted
Through notions of Black family preservation, accessibility, and feminist collectivity, these stories look at points of connection that prevail amid legacies of state-sanctioned family separation.
This is an Address (2020) Dir. Sasha Wortzel, 18min.
Video Visit (2021) Dir. Malika Zouhali Worrall, 21min.
I’m Free Now, You Are Free (2020) Dir. Ash Goh Hua, 15min.
They Won’t Call It Murder (2021) Dirs. Ingrid Raphael & Melissa Gira Grant, 24min.
Shorts Program 2: Remembrance
Gathering together cinematic experiments from collage to archival tributes, these dynamic shorts offer meditations on migration, loss, reconciliation, and the circular nature of time.
we didn’t see it as a tidal wave (2021) Dir. Gi (Ginny) Huo, 2min.
Two Sons and a River of Blood (2021) Dirs. Angelo Madsen Minax & Amber Bemak, 11min.
I ran from it and was still in it (2020) Dir. Darol Olu Kae, 11min.
What Happened to a Dream Deferred (2020) Dir. Esery Mondesir, 25min.
Sanctuary (2021) Dir. Shahkeem Williams, 10min.
Shorts Program 3: Symbiosis
These sites of resilience, camaraderie, and care offer a soft landing for contemplation and interdependence.
Bug Farm (2020) Dir. Lydia Cornett, 14min.
What The Pier Gave Us (2021) Dir. Luna X Moya, 6min.
Queenie (2020) Dir. Cai Thomas, 20min.
The Cut (2021) Dir. Zac Manuel, 7min
Choir (2021) Dir. Aisha Amin, 10min.