Spike Lee’s new movie BlacKkKlansman, which tells the true story of a black police detective from Colorado Springs who infiltrated a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in 1978, made me want to scream with anger.
In The Saddest Day, a man looking for his brother is helped and accosted by a man wearing a cheerleader’s outfit. In Steeping, a detective who keeps getting beaten up on the trail of an investigation doesn’t know how much he’s being played — until he does. In G.R.C.E., a space explorer runs into trouble on his mission. And in Friendly Advice in a Coffee Shop, a woman and a man try to renegotiate a relationship, but their cleverness keeps getting in the way.
They all have a few elements in common. They have characters named Grace Broha. They have cheerleaders. They have the line “let me tell you something.” And most of them were made in New Haven — all of them as part of New Haven’s chapter of the 48 Hour Film Project, now in its eighth year and going strong.
“I don’t measure my songs by how good they are. I measure them by how honest they are,” says singer-songwriter Sarah Shook during the documentary film What It Takes, about her and her band the Disarmers, presented at Cafe Nine Tuesday evening.
Honesty is also a hallmark of the documentary form, celebrated locally this week as the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, now in its fifth year, runs through June 10. Gorman Bechard, a festival co-founder who also directed What It Takes, was on hand to introduce the film — followed by a Q&A with him led by local musician Dean Falcone and a set of music by New Haven’s own Stefanie Austin and the Palomino Club.
A local documentary film festival celebrates its fifth anniversary this year by expanding beyond its traditional Connecticut focus to include a diversity of entries showcasing what one of the co-founders believes is the most dynamic and authentic film form going today.
New Haven-based filmmaker Stephen Dest’s upcoming full-length feature film will be launched from the rooftop patio of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven on May 10, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., affording grand views of one of the film’s stars — New Haven architecture.
Jazz heavyweights and artistic emissaries from Africa will mix with New Haven’s finest talent at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas this year. That’s just the way Chad Herzog, co-executive director of the festival and director of programming, wants it, as the festival continues to deal with a tighter state budget by sinking its roots deeper into the Elm City.
When Eric Desatnik founded the Environmental Film Festival at Yale (EFFY) ten years ago, environmental documentary filmmakers still had to lay the groundwork for why the general public should care about broad issues like climate change and food sustainability.