Part 1 of 4. For a short review of our whole season, please click here.
2016 was a landmark year for film + media at Basilica. From 24-HOUR DRONE once again warming up projectors and 1980s CRT TV monitors at the start of the season, to the wide variety of feature films in our annual Summer Screenings series (including a five-hour documentary about the US-led Iraq invasion of 2002 and visits from celebrated filmmakers), to a brand-new fall documentary series featuring timely takes on global issues alongside a story that hits close to home, to two new and FREE community screening series that brought Bollywood and classic kids’ flicks to local audiences, to Kiln Films, our steadfast-and-strange collection of under-the-radar films and videos installed inside Basilica’s former forge and foundry brick kiln, paid homage to cultural monoliths of the human and nonhuman variety. All that and more below…
Basilica Screenings is a summer film series at Basilica Hudson that presents an array of works from new and repertory narrative features, documentaries, experimental films, to video and media art, often with filmmakers and special guests in attendance for a discussion following the screenings. 2016 marked its fifth year, programmed by independent curator Aily Nash and Basilica Hudson’s Co-Founder Tony Stone. “Film has been at the center of Basilica Hudson’s programming since its founding, and we are excited to be extending this tradition/history with new programs this year,” said Stone. “We are committed to bringing important new films to Hudson, to serve our dedicated film audience and this year to reach new communities through our expanded roster of programming.”
The series ran June through August and featured a wide variety of films and guest filmmakers including: 1980s political sci-fi thriller BORN IN FLAMES by Lizzie Borden; an evening with celebrated filmmaker Charles Atlas alongside his London docu-fantasy classic HAIL THE NEW PURITAN; recently passed feminist hero Chantal Akerman’s landmark JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 COMMERCE QUAY, 1080 BRUSSELS; an evening of performances by artists Sara Magenheimer and Martine Syms; and a screening of the singular and affecting HOMELAND: IRAQ YEAR ZERO by Abbas Fahdel. The series culminated with a screening of the much-anticipated final film by Andrzej Żuławski, COSMOS.
Basilica Hudson expanded its film program in 2016 with three new series:
Non-Fiction Screening Series
Basilica collaborated with Chris Boeckmann, film programmer for the Columbia, MO-based True/False Film Fest, a pioneering film festival dedicated to exploring creative non-fiction film, to present the inaugural Basilica Non-Fiction Screening Series this past fall. The series celebrated and interrogated the documentary genre through screenings and dialogue with visiting directors.
Following the premiere of Tony Stone’s 2016 documentary PETER AND THE FARM at True/False, Basilica Hudson co-founders Stone and Melissa Auf der Maur found a synergy of vision with the True/False mission and a collaboration was formed. Basilica Non-Fiction Film Series followed a similar model of a vibrant film festival in a small city surrounded by a rural landscape, attended by dedicated regional residents and national film enthusiasts. “We are thrilled to be announcing this new program, we instantly saw eye to eye with Chris Boeckmann when we met at True/False, their program really inspired us,” said Tony Stone.
Films screened included American “jail time culture” portrait THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES and a conversation with visiting director Brett Story, Kristen Johnson’s autobiographical CAMERAPERSON culled from decades of footage, a haunting descent into Mongolian coal mines with Zhao Liang’s BEHEMOTH, a look into the lives of young women held under the punishing hand of Iranian law in Mehrdad Oskouei’s STARLESS DREAMS, and a special hometown screening of PETER AND THE FARM including a conversation with Peter himself and the director, Basilica’s own Tony Stone.
Basilica Free Community Screenings
Basilica Free Community Screenings are part of Basilica Hudson’s broader roster of free and accessible programs for new and local audiences. Basilica Hudson is committed to extending and expanding its partnerships with its community through these programs, to serve new audiences and offer platforms for new programming. Basilica Free Screenings highlights the magic of the big screen for all in our North Hall, generously supported by the Milling-Smith Family.
One of two free community film screenings which debuted this past summer, River’s Pics featured summer Sunday monthly matinees for kids — The Sound of Music, Bringing Up Baby and Nutcracker: The Motion Picture — classics for the whole family featuring music, dance and humor. In a world of too many screens and portable devices, Basilica brought the original magic- ride-into-the-imagination-via-celluloid to Hudson’s kids… with a sizeable dose of free popcorn.
Bollywood @ Basilica
Also free and open to the public, Bollywood @ Basilica was co-presented and curated by Hudson’s own Max of Taste of India, our neighborhood purveyor of the tastiest Indian food around, who served up monthly summer Tuesday evenings of Bollywood films. Each epic, romantic, musical action-adventure film was hand-selected and featured Bollywood’s biggest stars, such as Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol Devgan, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan. The screenings were paired with a generous helping of Max’s own home cooking from the Taste of India food cart, available for purchase on site.
Film x 24-HOUR DRONE
24-HOUR DRONE: EXPERIMENTS IN SOUND AND MUSIC droned our doors open at the end of April as the world grew greener, and once again our event partner Second Ward Foundation curated a program of art films in our North Hall, which ran from sunset through the night in tandem with the music and sound in our Main Hall. Originally slated to end at sunrise, Second Ward Co-Director Walter Sudol appeared for a surprise and synchronicity-filled “VJ” session which lasted well into the light-filled Sunday hours.
Our second annual 24-HOUR DRONE also marked our Basilica’s first artist commission, a video work by Catskill-based artist Alon Koppel. Watch his breathtaking DRONE LATITUDES piece above — shot by a radio-controlled drone hovering over Basilica and surrounding landscapes, set to the live recording of Noveller during her 24-HOUR DRONE 2016 performance.
Finally, Kiln Films featured two works highlighting drone-based human expression by exploring connections between contemporary and ancient cultures side by side. Mono ((((❚))), “a film on stones and single tones” by Sangam Sharma, is a mystical film on monolithic architecture, monophonic music and the ancient female old. Her Bijî Gıranî, a film by George Mürer, highlights a new and ever-evolving Kurdish music movement.
Film x Basilica SoundScape
During our fifth annual weekend of music and art, Kiln Films honored the life and work of seminal artist Tony Conrad with Outlier, a selected screening series of Conrad’s films and videos, curated by two former students (at SUNY Buffalo) and friends of Tony: David Gracon and Basilica SoundScape partner Brandon Stosuy. Conrad passed away on April 9th, 2016 at the age of 76.
“Tony Conrad is one the great American artists of our time, yet to the world at large he remains criminally under appreciated. Since the early 1960s, Conrad’s films and compositions have been the stuff of legend for artists and musicians everywhere. His vast, interdisciplinary repertoire has single-handedly created and influenced major film and compositional movements.” (Description taken from the promotions for the documentary Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present.)
Film x Community Events
Basilica and Second Ward Foundation teamed up again, in association with VISIONAIRE FILM, last June to present Matthew Placek’s 3D moving portrait, 130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramović, an immersive site-specific installation. The work, originally created in the town of Hudson, was installed in the Second Ward Foundation’s ground floor and open to the public for view for three weeks. And as part of our annual (FREAK) FLAG DAY festivities on June 11, Basilica and Second Ward presented a new work-in-progress screening by Placek entitled Balloons, Umbrellas, and Snow, which continued Placek’s ongoing exploration of memory and the immortalization of people, relationships and time through Placek’s 25-year archive of 17,000 35mm snapshots.
At the close of our season, Basilica offered our screening room to local Oscar-nominated director and activist Fidel Moreno, who screened a rough cut of STANDING WITH STANDING ROCK and engaged the audience in a lively conversation. Culled from 18 hours of interviews with 33 people at the Standing Rock encampment — including youth, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, First Nation people and non-Indian supporters — STANDING WITH STANDING ROCK is an ongoing documentary project, still being shot on location, chronicling the story of the protesters at Standing Rock and their connection to the history of the American Indian Movement on their treaty-given lands of the American west. 100% of event proceeds went towards the Standing Rock encampment.
Aily Nash, Chris Boeckmann of True/False Film Fest, Second Ward Foundation, Wave Farm / WGXC, David Gracon + Brandon Stosuy, Taste of India, Matthew Placek, the Milling-Smith Family, Kiln Films.
24-HOUR DRONE image of Alon’s film on TV monitor by Alon Koppel
Still from HOMELAND
Still from PETER AND THE FARM
River’s Pics flyer
Blue projection image by Andi State
Still from 130919 • A PORTRAIT OF MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ