MoMI First LookIncluding Works-In-Progress, Artist Dialogues, Master Classes
March 11–15, 2020

New York, N.Y. (February 18, 2020) —Museum of the Moving Image's First Look Festival has long focused on discovery, but this year, the program will expand to foreground the creative process. In addition to appearing in person at screenings, filmmakers will participate in master classes, conversations, live performances, and works in progress throughout the Museum. This series of programs, titled "Working on It," runs concurrent with the Festival, March 11 through 15. The Museum will function as a laboratory for film development and dialogue, exploring aspects of production, criticism, and distribution, bringing together festival guests, filmmakers and the general public.

Talks and master classes include appearances by Hubert Sauper, director of opening night film Epicentro, Midi Z, director of closing night film Nina Wu, and Polish cinematographer Andrzej Jaroszewicz, here with Bird Talk as well as a special screening of Andrzej Żuławski’s On the Silver Globe. Other highlights include: a day of talks, presentations, and works in progress hosted by Reverse Shot, the online magazine of the Museum; an experiment in live film editing by Nels Bangerter (Cameraperson, The Hottest August); a presentation and open discussion about the ethos of filmmaking and film viewing led by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz (The Viewing Booth); and two works of live cinema by Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri, including a tenth anniversary screening of October Country featuring a world premiere of their live score. Thanks to the support of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, First Look will also feature work-in-progress presentations by Robert Greene, Robb Moss, Zeshawn Ali, Maya Daisy Hawke, Damon Smith, and more.

These daytime and early evening events can be attended via single-day or festival passes, starting at $20 per day (which includes Museum admission) or $50 for all “Working On It” programs. (Excludes select programs that are invitation only and main program festival film screenings that were previously announced.)

For the third year in a row, First Look presents student shorts, showcasing award-winning films from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism, and inaugurating a showcase of narrative films from the BFA Film Department at the School of Visual Arts. These student filmmakers will participate in events throughout the Festival. First Look also welcomes students and filmmakers from nearby schools and universities, including The Harriman Institute at Columbia University, a Festival sponsor.

First Look is happy to announce the addition of A Rifle and a Bag to the main program. The recent recipient of the Bright Future Award Honourable Mention at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020, the film will have its U.S. premiere on Sunday, March 15.


In Conversation: Hubert Sauper
Documentary filmmaker Hubert Sauper talks about the making of Epicentro, First Look 2020’s opening night film, as well as his two previous films, the Academy Award–nominated Darwin’s Nightmare (2004) and We Come As Friends (2014). 
Tickets: $10 (Free for Museum Members and “Working On It” passholders)

First Sight: Award-winning shorts from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism
With Grace Noteboom, Devine Utley, Sam Roth, Phoebe Mussman, and Olivia Jacobson in person
Jury award–winning student films from the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism, originally presented at the second annual Stronger Than Fiction Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri. Jurors: Sandi Tan, Alissa Wilkinson, Eric Hynes. All New York premieres.
All These Marks. Dir. Grace Noteboom. United States. 2019, 11 mins.
The Lost Cause. Dir. Devine Utley. United States. 2019, 13 mins.
Holy Fire. Dir. Sam Roth. United States. 2019, 28 mins.
Qualm & Quietus. Dir. Phoebe Mussman. United States. 2019, 21 mins.
Tickets: $10 (Free for Museum Members and “Working On It” passholders)

First Sight: Four short films from the BFA Film Department, School of Visual Arts
With Theo Le Sourd, Meng Mei Cen, Domenica Garcia, and Bouquet Napussorn in person
FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 8:15 P.M.
These four narrative films from the BFA Film Department of New York’s School of Visual Arts represent a diversity of voices, approaches, and forms, encompassing love stories, ghost tales, and fantasias, journeying to Asia, South America, and the American suburbs. Selected by Edo Choi, Assistant Curator of Film, and Eric Hynes, Curator of Film.
How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?. Dir. Theo Le Sourd. 2019. 14 mins.
Beyond the Green Mountain. Dir. Meng Mei Cen. 2019. 15 mins.
Fragmentation. Dir. Domenica Garcia. 2019. 28 mins.
Tortun. Dir. Bouquet Napussorn. 2019. 31 mins.
Tickets: $10 (Free for Museum Members and “Working On It” passholders)

October Country
Tenth anniversary screening, world premiere of a live score by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher
FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 6:00 P.M.
Dirs. Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher. 2009, 80 mins. Digital projection. Shot over a year from one Halloween to the next, October Country is a deeply personal, beautifully rendered portrait of an American family struggling for stability while haunted by the ghosts of war, teen pregnancy, foster care, and child abuse. A collaboration between filmmaker Michael Palmieri and photographer and family member Donal Mosher, this vibrant and penetrating documentary examines the forces that unsettle the working poor and the violence that lurks beneath the surface of American life. 
Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors & students / $9 youth ages 3–17 / free for Museum members).

On the Silver Globe
With Andrzej Jaroszewicz in person
Co-Presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York

SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 12:00 P.M.
Dir. Andrzej Żuławski. 1988, 157 mins. Restored DCP. This beleaguered masterpiece was the largest Polish production of its time with shooting locations in the Tatra and Caucasus mountains, the Crimea, the Baltic coast, and the Gobi Desert, but within a year and a half, by order of the Ministry of Culture, filming had ceased and a heartbroken Andrzej Żuławski had returned to self-imposed exile in France. A decade later, the collapse of the Soviet Union would afford Żuławski the chance to complete his work with the extant material. For him, it remained "a shred of a film," but this story, about a band of cosmonauts who seek to create a new society on the moon only to repeat the follies of humankind in the form of a perverse passion play, remains perhaps the farthest-out experience in the great filmmaker's far-out oeuvre.

Followed by
A Masterclass with Cinematographer Andrzej Jaroszewicz
Long-time collaborator of Andrzej Żuławski and master cinematographer Andrzej Jaroszewicz will present an illuminating multimedia lecture on the making of their visionary work, On the Silver Globe.
Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors & students / $9 youth ages 3–17 / free for Museum members).

A Rifle and a Bag
SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 1:15 P.M.
Dir. NoCut Film Collective: Cristina Haneș, Isabella Rinaldi, Arya Rothe. India, Romania, Italy, Qatar. 2020, 89 mins. In Gondi, Madiya, Hindi with English subtitles. On the outskirts of the jungle, the precarious existence of a young family of ex-revolutionaries, pardoned and resettled under a government surrender policy for Naxalites (Maoists), reveals itself gradually, by day and night, in everyday scenes captured at a rigorously maintained and patiently held distance. Refusing to conceal the limits of observational cinema in the face of invisible structures of oppression, the NoCut Film Collective offers no commentary on the image, no expository interviews or rhetorical interventions. Rather, placing pointed emphasis on setting and situation over action, they abide silently by their subjects Somi, her husband Sukhram, and their children, as they endure coerced changes of status, security, and selfhood. Bright Future Award Honourable Mention at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020. U.S. premiere.
Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors & students / $9 youth ages 3–17 / free for Museum members).


First Look “Working on It” Day 1
Co-presented with Reverse Shot
1:00 P.M. Artists & Attendees assemble
1:30 P.M.-3:00 P.M. Critical Interventions: A Reverse Shot Live Symposium. An in-person series of dialogues and experiments among filmmakers, critics, programmers, and distributors. (Redstone Theater)
3:00 P.M. Room H.264: Columbia, MO, March 2019. A screening of the third film in the iterative Room H.264 project. Featuring Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar, Petra Costa, Deborah Stratman, Brett Story, Bing Liu, Ernst Karel and more. Presented by Eric Hynes, Jeff Reichert, Damon Smith. (Redstone Theater)
4:00 P.M. Where the Homeless Elephants Go. A short radio documentary by Damon Smith, presenting with visual accompaniment. Related to a work-in-progress feature-length documentary, The Lord of Obstacles. Presented by director Damon Smith and producer Martin Marquet. (Redstone Theater)
5:00 P.M. - 6:30 P.M. Off the Record: Happy Hour hosted by Reverse Shot (Fox Amphitheater)
6:30 P.M. The Film Comment Podcast. Hosted by Nicolas Rapold, Editor in Chief, Film Comment.

First Look “Working on It” Day 2
Co-presented with and sponsored by The Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism and Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
1:00 P.M. Artists & Attendees assemble
1:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. Editing in the Open: An Experiment in Live Film Editing. Part performance, part daredevilry, part illumination of an artist’s process, ace editor Nels Bangerter (The Hottest August, Dick Johnson Is Dead, Cameraperson) spends the afternoon editing a short film on the spot and in public. (Bartos Theater)
1:30 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. Work-in-Progress presentation: Zeshawn Ali’s Two Gods. Debut director Zeshawn Ali shares his work-in-progress film Two Gods, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker. (Redstone Theater)
3:30 P.M - 5:00 P.M. Work-in-Progress presentation: Robert Greene and team share clips and discuss their new project. INVITATION ONLY (Redstone Theater)
5:00 P.M. The unveiling of Nels Bangerter’s on-the-spot creation. With Nels Bangerter in conversation with Robert Greene. (Bartos Theater)
5:00 P.M. - 6:30 P.M. Off the Record: Happy Hour hosted by Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism (Fox Amphitheater)
6:30 P.M. In Conversation: Hupert Sauper, director of Epicentro (Redstone Theater)

First Look “Working on It” Day 3
Co-presented with and sponsored by The BFA Film Department, School of Visual Arts and Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
1:00 P.M. Artists & Attendees assemble
1:30 P.M. A conversation with filmmaker Robb Moss about his work-in-progress, the third film in a trilogy following Riverdogs (1982) and The Same River Twice (2003). (Redstone Theater)
2:30 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. Passage to a Viewing Booth: Israeli director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz recounts the personal, professional, and moral journey that led to his new film, The Viewing Booth, featuring clips from his two previous films, The Inner Tour and The Law in These Parts. Followed by a screening of The Viewing Booth and a conversation between the director and filmmaker Robb Moss. (Redstone Theater)
5:00 P.M. - 6:30 P.M. Off the Record: Happy Hour hosted by The BFA Film Department, School of Visual Arts (Fox Amphitheater)
6:00 P.M Tenth Anniversary screening of October Country. Presented for the first time with a live score by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher. (Redstone Theater)

First Look “Working on It” Day 4
Live Cinema Works-in-Progress
1:00 P.M. Work-in-progress presentation: Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri’s Night Wind Remembers, a work of live cinema that interweaves the classic film Fantastic Voyage with a meditation on aging, medical technology, and the power of breath itself (featuring Don and Dotty Mosher of October Country). Scored and performed live by Palmieri and Mosher. (Bartos Theater)
1:45 P.M. Work-in-Progress presentation: Maya Daisy Hawke’s Unfated Yet. Filmmaker Maya Daisy Hawke offers a series of live cinema experiments ruminating on notions of collaboration, personal expression, and the infamous master Zerhogg. (Bartos Theater)

First Look "Working on It Day 5"
In Conversation: Midi Z, director of Nina Wu. (VSA)
SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 6:00 P.M.
Co-presented and sponsored by the Taipei Cultural Center in New York

For ticketing information and full schedule:



Museum of the Moving Image invites press to preview and/or attend and cover the festival. Please click here to register for access to screenings, talks, and other events. Confirmation will be sent in mid-February.

Press contact: Tomoko Kawamoto, or 718 777 6830.

Museum of the Moving Image ( advances the understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media. In its stunning facility—acclaimed for both its accessibility and bold design—the Museum presents exhibitions; screenings of significant works; discussion programs featuring actors, directors, craftspeople, and business leaders; and education programs which serve more than 70,000 students each year. The Museum also houses a significant collection of moving-image artifacts.

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Free Friday Nights: free gallery admission every Friday, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. presented by the Richmond Country Savings Foundation. Additionally, this program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Film Screenings: Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays, and as scheduled. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $15 adults / $11 students and seniors / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted or free for Museum members. Advance purchase is available online. 

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