Tonight, Wednesday, June 17, sees the opening of the seventh edition of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s
annual BAMcinemaFest, a popular program of 35 recent films which had its origins as the Sundance at BAM series. The event, which runs through Sunday, June 28, continues to draw selections from Park City for their NYC premieres, along with acclaimed work from other notable events.
Nonfiction programming which appeared previously at Sundance includes Chad Gracia’s unforgettable conspiracy theorist profile, THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER (pictured); Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s political history, BEST OF ENEMIES; Frida Barkfors and Lasse Barkfors’ empathetic portrait of a place, PERVERT PARK; Bobcat Goldthwait’s surprising profile of a comedian turned activist, CALL ME LUCKY; and Amy Berg’s look at fundamentalist Mormonism, PROPHET’S PREY.
From Berlin comes Jem Cohen’s city essay, COUNTING; from Full Frame, Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin’s portrait of a pioneering video collective, HERE COME THE VIDEOFREEX; and from SXSW, Luke Meyer’s look at fame’s impact on a junior high school metal band, BREAKING A MONSTER; and Elizabeth Giamatti and Alex Sichel’s hybrid about creativity and coping with a terminal illness, A WOMAN LIKE ME (pictured).
Also from this year’s SXSW and screening in Brooklyn as a Special Event is the late Les Blanks’ unreleased 1974 Leon Russell portrait, A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON. It joins another classic, Penelope Spheeris’ 1981 THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION (pictured), a chronicle of LA’s punk scene, which screens here in a new restored version.