I Watch Films, You Can Too: Home Video and Found Footage Edition

My name is Dominic and I’m the Film Programmer here at Rooftop. I have the awesome job of watching and finding films and putting together the events and programs for the Summer Series. With so many films and events this summer it can be difficult to find paths through our programming. I’ll be devoting a weekly blog post to themes in our films to help guide your viewing.

We’ll start with one of may favorite genres and a Rooftop mainstay: found footage and home video!

Holy Hell | Saturday, May 21
The Old American Can Factory, Gowanus

An incredible home-video document filmed over 20 years inside the Buddhafield spiritual group, sometimes referred to as a cult. What starts as fun quickly takes bizarre turns down a stranger-than-fiction rabbit hole.

Territory: Short Films About Turf Wars | Saturday, June 11
Firefighter’s Field, Roosevelt Island

In this program of stories from the (sometimes) shared (sometimes) human space, we include Caroline Monnet’s Mobilize, an exhilarating journey from the far Canadian north to the urban south. The fearless polar punk rhythms of Tanya Tagaq’s “Uja” underscore the perpetual negotiation between the modern and traditional by a people always moving forward. Mobilize is part of Souvenir, a four-film series addressing Aboriginal identity and representation by reworking material in the National Film Board of Canada’s archives.

Opening Night | Friday, May 20
The Bushwick Generator, Bushwick

This year’s opening night short films program features three shorts existing in very different corners of this genre. Temporary Color by Rooftop alum John Wilson (How to Walk in Manhattan, How to Stop Smoking) is compiled from footage shot for a David Byrne concert doc and against the escape of two prisoners last summer. An Ecstatic Experience by Ja’Tovia Gary is concerned with making a personal mark on and disrupting found material to express emotion and “inhabit the archive.” Finally, Daniel Moshel returns with the second in his “MeTube: August Sings” series, a short which uses the home-video genre as a jumping-off point and then blows it up completely!

These are just the first of many home video and found footage films and programs. Look for more posts on this topic later this summer.