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John Carlucci by John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke
John Carlucci by John Carlucci and Brandon LaGanke

Festival of Cinema NYC returns for its 5th year, as a live in-person 10-day event, taking place September 24-October 3, 2021, with over 120 independent films at the Regal UA Midway in Forest Hills, Queens.

John Carlucci and Brandon Laganke’s raucous comedy Drunk Bus kicks things off on Friday, September 24. The film follows a recent college graduate whose life plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. However, when he runs into Pineapple, a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living, his life will never be the same. or risk driving in circles forever. Both Carlucci and Laganke will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Erin Granat and Machete Bang Bang’s Moon Manor will make its Queens Premiere on Saturday, October 2 as FOC NYC’s Closing Night selection. The film focuses on a man with advancing Alzheimer’s who decides that he will orchestrate a party of a funeral–a FUNeral, prior to his death, showing his estranged brother, salt-of-the earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being, and everyone else the proper way to make an exit.

Also on the premiere-rich lineup are world premieres including; Cristiano Vieira’s Brazilian thriller A Cisterna (The Well), which centers on a successful journalist and popular television host’s fight for survival when she is kidnapped and held inside a well; and Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda imaginative drama about a woman living alone at a large family estate, who begins to lose touch with reality and time, and begins to spiral into a nightmare of madness. Making their North American premieres are Pedro von Krüger’s Brazilian thriller, Any Given Day where a woman’s son goes missing inspiring him to take the investigation and matters into his own hands; and Vishal P. Chaliha’s Sijou, about a boy who becomes a victim of the Feudal Land Tenure System which enslaved people to land holding lords.

Festival of Cinema NYC Founder and Executive Director Jayson Simba, said, “In our 5th year, and despite the pandemic, we still continue to grow by nearly every metric – submissions, films selected, screenings, and more. We could not be more excited to return to our home at the Regal and to see these amazing films on screen and meet all of the 85 filmmakers we are expecting to join us here in Forest Hills. We pride ourselves on bringing world cinema to the many film lovers here in Queens, and this year’s lineup really delivers on that front.”

For its fifth year, Festival of Cinema NYC is working with the Americas Media Initiative organization to raise awareness of the current societal turmoil and political conditions in Cuba. On Tuesday September 28 at 7:00PM, the festival will be presenting the animated short film Esperanza vs. the U.S. Embargo of Cuba proceeded by Ricardo Figueredo Oliva’s documentary The Singular Story of Unlucky Juan. The screenings will be followed by a 60-minute moderated discussion with guest speakers and activists, Roberto Monticello and Isabel Alfonso leading the conversation. Proceeds from the evening’s presentation will be donated to assist in Cuban Relief efforts.

2021 FESTIVAL OF CINEMA NYC OFFICIAL SELECTION

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

Drunk Bus
Dir. John Carlucci & Brandon Laganke, USA, 100 min
Michael (Charlie Tahan) is a recent graduate whose post college plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple, a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living or risk driving in circles forever.

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION

Moon Manor
Queens Premiere
Dir. Erin Granat & Machete Bang Bang, USA, 102 min
With advancing Alzheimer’s and a determination to do things his way, Jimmy’s decided to throw himself a fabulous FUNeral before his intentional death, showing his estranged brother, salt-of-the earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being, and the guests at his FUNeral — that sometimes the art of living just may be the art of dying.

ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURES

6:45
Dir. Craig Singer, USA, 100 min.
The couple arrives for vacation in the quiet island resort called “Bog Grove.” To their bewilderment, the sleepy beach town is curiously deserted and they quickly learn about its deadly history that’s about to repeat itself.

A Cisterna (The Well)
World Premiere
Dir. Cristiano Vieira, Brazil, 100 Min., World Premiere
Lorena Ribeiro is a successful journalist and popular television host when she is kidnapped and held inside a well.

Angie: Lost Girls
Queens Premiere
Dir. Julia Verdin, USA, 108 min
After escaping from a sex trafficking ring, one teenage girl struggles to reconnect with herself and her family after her ordeal. Ultimately, in order to find herself and rescue her helpless friends, she must confront her own fears and help lead the police to her traffickers – no matter the cost.

Any Given Day
North American Premiere
Dir. Pedro von Krüger, Brazil, 88 min
The festive atmosphere of the first Sunday after the Carnival is soon disrupted when Penha’s son goes missing. Certain that his disappearance can only be the work of the mafia commanded by former police officer Quirino, an old dislike, Penha will soon find out the consequences of doing justice with her own hands.

Dreamover
New York Premiere
Dir. Charlie Roman Olkhovka, Russia, 100 min
When life turns unbearably miserable, a lonely old man takes part in a medical experiment, reviving a long-forgotten story of his love…

Electric Jesus
New York Premiere
Dir. Chris White, USA, 107 min
When a flashy promoter (played by Brian Baumgartner, The Office) sells sound man Erik (Andrew Eakle) and his favorite local Christian hair metal band, 316, on the promise of a bus tour in the summer of 1986, their desire to “make Jesus famous” meets the complexities and confusion of personal ambition, religious conviction, youthful zeal, lifelong friendships, and first love.

The Enemies
New York Premiere
Dir. George Gachava, Georgia, 65 min
In order to escape inevitable death, a Georgian soldier is forced to open the basement door and jump in thus trapping himself underground with the enemy.

Finding Ophelia
Dir. Stephen Rutterford, USA, 73 min.
William Edgar inhabits a strange dream-like reality. His obsession with a mysterious woman leads down a bizarre, dark path of signs and wonders. Sometimes finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare.

Lair
East Coast Premiere
Dir. Adam Ethan Crow, United Kingdom, 96 min
When a friend claims to have been possessed by a demonic force, paranormal investigator Steven Caramore investigates, setting off a chain of events that forces a young family and Caramore into a terrifying battle for survival.

Leda
World Premiere
Dir. Samuel Tressler IV, USA, 76 min
Leda lives alone in a large family estate, surrounded by her memories. As her past of loss unfolds and a divine presence seems to haunt her, she begins to lose touch with reality and time. What seemed to be a dream-like world spirals into a nightmare of madness in this reimagining of the Greek myth.

Lightships
New York Premiere
Dir. John Harrigan, United Kingdom, 103 min
Eve’s family is missing: her journal holds the key to locating them. As her world and reality begin to unravel, she must unlock the mystery of the visions and transmissions she is experiencing. Is she a prisoner, a patient… or dead?

Omar and Us
New York Premiere
Dir. Maryna Er Gorbach & Mehmet Bahadir Er, Turkey, 104 min
Ismet is a recently retired Turkish soldier whose last post was as a Commander of the Coast Guard at the Turkish maritime border. In an unexpected turn of events, he suddenly becomes neighbors with two refugees. Now he must face his prejudices and reexamine his worldview.

Only Human
East Coast Premiere
Dir. Igor Ivanov, North Macadonia, 95 min.
What is Man? HOMO shows six faces, six phases in cleverly-connected, blackly comic episodes as desperate characters meet unwittingly in a modern metropole in the eternal search for the means to survive, and find some kind of love.

The Prince
Dir. Sebastián Muñoz, Chile, 95 min.
During a night of heavy drinking, Jaime, a narcissist 20-year-old, stabs his best friend in what seems like a passionate outburst. In prison he will discover the affections and loyalties of an everyday life marked by violence.

Savage Days
Dir. David Lanzman, France, 80 min.,
Savage Days is the fate of three characters: a student eager for experiences, a drug dealer trying to get out of it, and a trader tired of his loneliness. The world today makes them meet, collide, hurt each other.

Shellfish
Dir. Hunter Hopewell, USA, 82 min.
A poignant tale of longing and loss is revealed when a timeworn journal transports a young girl to a place of enchanting wonders.

Sijou
North American Premiere
Dir. Vishal P.Chaliha, India, 109 min
Sijou’s life takes a drastic shift when the boy becomes a victim of the Feudal Land Tenure System which was in practice in Bhutan till 1958.

The Silent Party
East Coast Premiere
Dir. Diego Fried, Argentina, 87 min
Just hours before her wedding party, Laura sets out on her own, but a violent act changes her life forever.

Ten Tricks
Dir. Rick Pagano, 88 min., USA
A woman tries to get pregnant. On her birthday. Surrounded by men trying to have sex.

Two is the Magic Number
Queens Premiere
Dir. Holger Borggrefe & Stefan Hering, Deutschland, 85 min
A day at the lake. Andrejs ex-girlfriend Nadia pays him a visit. Nadia and Andrej’s former best mate Claudius are a couple now. Nadia’s request for help confronts Andrej with a common dark secret.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

(C)Answers
East Coast Premiere
Dir. Breht Gardner, USA, 90 min
(C)Answers explores the biological and social cancers that plague American society. Filmmaker Breht Gardner takes you inside one man’s emotional cancer battle and discovers that cannabis prohibition is where race, politics, and the business of medicine powerfully intersect.

Alexandre the Fool
Queens Premiere
Dir. Pedro Pires, Canada, 65 min
Fifteen years after a psychotic event on the South China Sea flipped his life upside down, Alex, a sensitive, refined and schizophrenic man is at a crossroads.

Beer Boom
New York Premiere
Dir. Eric Schleyer & Andrew Coury, USA, 60 min
Craft beer in New York City is big business. But will passion and commitment be enough for a local brewer and his family to make it in the world’s toughest city?

Escape from Room 18
Dir. Daniel Brea, USA, 60 min
Two American ex-neo-Nazi Skinheads, one of them Jewish and living in Israel, meet in Eastern European concentration camps to re-connect with each other and make amends for their past after 25 years of silence.

Loving Mona
New York Premiere
Dir. Terry Katz, USA, 71 min
Loving Mona is a personal story of how dogs change people’s lives. It is delightful in its sincerity and smallness of scope, and clearly shows a deep love for its subjects, dogs and people alike. It is inspiring as it is entertaining.

Never Events
Dir. Angela Asatrian, USA, 78 min
An aging chef from Minnesota has his life turned upside down when a relentless filmmaker from Las Vegas tries to make the chefs onion rings world famous.

Safeguard: An Electoral College Story
New York Premiere
Dir. M.A. Taylor, USA, 76 min
This timely and urgent new public affairs documentary examines the U.S. electoral college system. The film avoids any partisan bickering to ask the questions: How does it work? What happens if we change the rules? Is democracy just “two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner?” or can a democratic system be designed to protect minority rights?

Sex, Drugs & Bicycles
New York Premiere
Dir. Jonathan Blank, The Netherlands, 86 min
An aging chef from Minnesota has his life turned upside down when a relentless filmmaker from Las Vegas tries to make the chefs onion rings world famous.

The Singular Story of Unluck Juan
Dir. Ricardo Figueredo Oliva, Cuba, 52 min
Divided into chapters covering rations, the marketplace, CUC stores, private business, corruption, economic migration, and future Cuba, the documentary walks us through how each of these affects Juan and those like him.

SHORT NARRATIVE FILMS

#PrincessProblems
Director: Maritza Gomez
Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min

A Day Off
Director: Caol Ila Bader
Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

Ali’s Realm
Director: Mario Torres Jr
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

Amplitude Modulation
Director: Nicolás Fernández
Country: Chile; Running Time: 39 min

Angst
Director: Béla Baptiste
Country: Austria; Running Time: 10 min

Art: An Unexpected Vocation
Director: Marianna Phung
Country: Canada; Running Time: 9 min

At Last
Director: Lorena Gordon
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

Biff & Me
Director: Nicola Rose
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

Blue Lanterns
Director: Brandon Chi-Wei Chen
Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

Captain Kinesis
Director: Carles Jofre
Country: Spain; Running Time: 11 min

Christopher Nolan is God
Director: Javier Alegre
Country: Spain; Running Time: 4 min

Close Shave
Director: Michael Mercadante
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

Daisy – A Violent World Story
Directors: Marc Alan Kropfl, Roberto “Tank” Gomez
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

Divertimento
Director: Keyvan Sheikhalishahi
Country: France; Running Time: 30 min

Don’t Jump
Director: Loring Murtha
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

Echoes of a Winter Sunshine
Director: Oniffe White
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

Eternal
Director: Nicolai Sagasser
Country: Germany; Running Time: 5 min

Fantasmas
Director: Àlex “Gela” Aguado
Country: Spain; Running Time: 26 min

Fear of Open Spaces
Director: David Toth
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

Frank
Director: Luna Alaina
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

Grafton
Director: Bryan Santiago
Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min

Half-Light
Director: Martina Savoca-Guay
Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

Happenstance
Directors: Adam M. Tuller, David Michael Alexander
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

Interrogation
Director: Manuel Rivero
Country: Spain; Running Time: 10 min

Kiko’s Saints
Director: Manuel Marmier
Country: France; Running Time: 25 min

Last Days
Director: Diana Frei
Country: Switzerland; Running Time: 30 min

Lea
Director: Nora Jaenicke
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

Lepidopterist
Director: Sophie Black
Country: UK; Running Time: 8 min

Like Daughter, Like Mother
Director: Clyde Baldo
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

Limbo
Director: Anthony von Seck
Country: Canada; Running Time: 17 min

Matty Boy
Director: Shahid Kamal
Country: UK; Running Time: 14 min

Miss You, Dad
Director: Neera Zaveri
Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

Moving On
Director: Martin Chavez
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

Mrs. Osbourne
Director: Gregory Bergeron
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

Perro de Calle
Director: Jose Guerrero
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

Psycho Therapy
Director: Scott O’Hara
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

Purgatory
Director: Nadyja von Ebers
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

Remembrance
Director: Shane Joseph Willis
Country: Australia; Running Time: 15 min

Rooftop Intermission
Directors: Masa Gibson, Abby J. Smith
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

Shadowed
Director: Juliette Hagopian
Country: Canada; Running Time: 10 min

Smoking Wet
Director: Michael Hilf
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

Sudden Drop
Director: Oc London
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

Swipe
Director: Anthony Sneed
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

Talk
Director: Romuald Boulanger
Country: France; Running Time: 25 min

Thank You for Patiently Waiting
Directors: Max Marklund, Anders Jacobsson
Country: Sweden; Running Time: 18 min

The Beast
Director: Luke Howe
Countries: UK/USA; Running Time: 13 min

The Beautiful Logic
Director: Tomomi Muraguchi
Country: Japan; Running Time: 21 min

The Blue Cave
Director: Muhammad Bilal
Country: USA; Running Time: 30 min

The Caretaker
Director: Roland Puknat
Country: Deutschland; Running Time: 18 min

The Cord
Director: Cory Greenbaum
Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

The Feeder of Mir
Director: Isaac Emmanuel Suero
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

The Fixer
Director: Michael Schilf
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

The Great Artist
Director: Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri
Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

The Karening
Director: Bec Fordyce
Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

The Killer Across the Street
Director: Adam Seccafico
Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

The Owner is In
Director: Phil Cheney
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

The Taxidermist
Director: Natalie Johnson
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

Things I Can’t See
Director: Andi Rados
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

Throwaway Boy
Director: Michael “Boogie” Pinckney
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

Trophies
Director: Angelica Rosas McDaniel
Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

Vacation
Director: Dylan Filingeri
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

Valley
Director: Allan Zhang Tran
Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

Where You Are
Director: Christopher J Aran
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

With Nora
Director: Micky Govern
Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min

You’d Look Better in Boots
Director: Derek Myers
Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

SHORT DOCUMENTARIES

Birth of a Union
Director: Josh Karan
Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

L’eau Est La Vie
Director: Sam Vinal
Country: USA; Running Time: 24 min

ANIMATION, EXPERIMENTAL AND MUSIC VIDEOS

A New Generation
Director: Jason Winfield
Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

Behind The Glass
Director: Pedro de la Llave
Country: Spain; Running Time: 5 min

Cloud Gazing
Director: Dianne Diep
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

Communication
Director: Jonas Ciurlionis
Country: Lithuania; Running Time: 3 min

Cookie
Director: Masataka Ishizaki
Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min

Elysium
Director: Kathrin Schweizer
Country: Switzerland; Running Time: 15 min

Here You Are You Here
Director: Masa Gibson, Abby J. Smith
Country: USA/Iceland; Running Time: 15 min

Highland Home
Director: Dan Schaefer
Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

Hostage
Director: Nestor Villasmil
Country: Venezuela; Running Time: 3 min

In A Pickle
Director: Jennifer Gelfer
Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

In the Pines
Director: Javier Fernández-Caldas
Country: Spain; Running Time: 2 min

Kevin Verses
Directors: Corey Neufville, Paula Gammon Wilson
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

Lea’s Secret
Director: Rico Gutierrez
Country: Philippines; Running Time: 5 min

Little Guys in Space!
Director: David Pagano
Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

On The Floor
Director: Corey Koepper
Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

Open Heart Surgery
Director: Valeria Cocco
Country: Poland; Running Time: 4 min

Talking Cure
Director: Maren Krüger
Country: Germany; Running Time: 6 min

WEB SERIES

Happily Ever Ally
Director: Emily Anderson
Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

Mares & Kaps
Director: Steve Parys
Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

Modus Operandi: Pseudo Fantasies of a F*cked Up Shrink
Director: Eric Goldsmith
Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

My Life as a Doormat (Pilot)
Director: Anthony Robert Grasso
Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

NOC – Non-Official Cover
Director: Ian Voglesong
Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min

Procedural Justice
Director: David Alfano
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

Tales From the Jumpseat: Sudden Drop
Director: Oc London
Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

The Resentful Angel
Directors: Shelley Daniels, Carmen Romen, Emily Ralsback

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