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Shults’ “Krisha”, Heller’s “Teenage Girl” & Haynes’ “Safe” Part of 8th Wassaic Project Film Fest

American indie film love is on full display at a fest that I’ve coined farm version of Telluride. The 8th edition of the Wassaic Project Film Festival will take off at the tail end of the month and the curators have landed Todd Haynes’ masterwork Safe and a foursome of worthy items (not including a special in-progress feature film screening) for the ’15 edition.

Sundance preemed items in Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s (T)error will be shown alongside SXSW/Cannes profiled Krisha from Trey Edward Shults and Sam Cullman’s Tribeca showcased Art and Craft. The fest runs from July 31st until August 2nd in Wassaic, New York. Pitch up a tent and go watch these features – as well as shorts selected by the Wassaic Project and Jason Sondhi of Vimeo Staff Picks and Short of the Week. Here is the entire selection below and the press release available at Indiewire.

Feature Films

Art and Craft” – Director: Sam Cullman

“Art and Craft” starts out as a cat-and-mouse art caper, rooted in questions of authorship and authenticity—but what emerges is an intimate story of obsession and the universal need for community, appreciation and purpose.

The screening of the film will be followed by a Q&A with director Sam Cullman.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl” – Director: Marielle Heller

Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgard). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.

The screening of the film will be followed by a Skype Q&A with director Marielle Heller.

Krisha” – Director: Trey Edward Shults

A holiday celebration turns ugly when Krisha (Krisha Fairchild, the director’s real-life aunt) returns to the family she abandoned years ago in an attempt to prove that she has changed. Her every attempt at reconciliation is rebuffed and as she aggressively attempts to make up for lost time, tensions mount and nerves begin to unravel in this dizzying portrait of a woman—and family— on the verge.

Safe” – Director: Todd Haynes

“Todd Haynes’s enviro-disease masterpiece ‘Safe’ might just be the most terrifying film of the last decade. There are no monsters or homicidal maniacs here—instead, the film’s horror emanates from an abstruse place where suburban drudgery gives way to a self-inflicted, existential crisis.” (Quoted from Slant’s Sal Cinquemani, 2002).

The screening of the film will be followed by a Guest Conversation with producer Christine Vachon.

(T)error” – Director: Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe

Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a counterterrorism informant for more than two decades, takes on what he swears is his last job for the FBI and invites filmmakers to follow his covert efforts to befriend a suspected jihadist – without informing his superiors. As surprising revelations emerge, not only about Torres’ past, but also about the increasingly murky ethical grounds of his present mission, “(T)error” explores just how far we are going to prevent terror and exactly what liberties we are sacrificing to get there.

The screening of the film will be followed by a Q&A with producer Christopher St. John.

Short Program I: “Awkward Interpersonal Relations”
“A Reasonable Request” – Director: Andrew Laurich
“Avoidance” – Director: Erica Rotberg
“The Girlfriend Game” – Director: Armen Antranikian
“Ringo” – Director: Yaara Sumeruk
“Safety” – Director: Rory Uphold
“This Is It” – Director: Alexander Engel

Short Program II: “Offbeat Fantasies”
“He Took His Skin Off For Me” – Director: Ben Aston
“Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger” – Director: Michael Lukk Litwak
“My Mom is an Airplane” – Director: Yulya Aronova
“Sleepover LA” – Director: Lily Baldwin
“Snooze Time” – Director: Ivan Barge
“Yearbook” – Director: Bernardo Britto

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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