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Hallelujah Anyway, Anyway directed Neil Goldberg - 12th Lower East Side Film Festival lineup
Hallelujah Anyway, Anyway directed Neil Goldberg

The 2022 Lower East Side Film Festival (LESFF) revealed the feature film and speciality short showcase lineup for in-person (at Village East Cinema, July 7th-11th) and virtually (July 7th-17th).

In its 12th year, the downtown indie festival continues its expanded viewership with a hybrid (in-person plus streaming) festival focused on highly curated programming and one-of-a-kind events.

Notable events this year include Ukraine x LESFF, in association with CinemAid Ukraine Charity Film Marathon, LESFF brings together a unique showcase of World Premiere shorts from Ukrainian filmmakers both in Ukraine and around the globe. For the past decade, LESFF has made The Village East Cinema, a theater in the heart of ‘little Ukraine,’ it’s home. Ukraine x LESFF is a celebration of the deep Ukrainian roots in the city, and the deep passion for cinema within Ukraine. This event is made possible with the support of filmmakers Olena Morentsova-Shulyk and Jeremy Chilnick.

“The full-scale war that Russia unleashed in Ukraine forced Ukrainian filmmakers, like millions of Ukrainians, to defend their country, their lives, their homes and their jobs,” said Ukrainian Producer Olena Morentsova-Shulyk. “The idea of partnership with LESFF became a great chance to focus on Ukraine, its a beautiful and diverse culture, free spirit and bravery through the cinema screen. It’s incredibly important for us to be heard, seen and truly discovered by the world now.” Morentsova-Shulyk, who fled Ukraine months ago due to the conflict, is working with LESFF and CinemaAid Ukraine to make this event possible.

Friday, July 8th is fright night at LESFF 2022! Prepare yourself for a creepy creature double feature as we screen the North American premiere of the new horror feature film ‘CRABS!’ as well as a special 20th-anniversary presentation of ‘Eight Legged Freaks’, the 2002 monster comedy action film featuring David Arquette and Scarlett Johansson.’

In Conversation (virtual) with Joel Kim Booster will feature a pre-recorded podcast taping of a conversation with Joel Kim Booster, focusing on his new film Fire Island, co-hosted virtually by the WGAE Asian-American and LGBTQ+ Salons.

A few notable feature documentaries (available in-person and/or virtually) this year include:

I am Gen Z
Dir. Liz Smith.
Through expert interviews and the web lens of Generation Z, this documentary explores how the digital revolution is impacting our society, our brains and mental health. It dives into how the forces driving the digital revolution are working against humanity and have put us on a dangerous trajectory that has huge ramifications for this first generation growing up with mobile digital technology.

Chasing Childhood
Dir. Margaret Munzer Loeb, Eden Wurmfeld.
Overprotected and over directed, American children are wilting under the weight of well-meaning parents. In the pursuit of keeping them safe and impressing admissions boards, over-parenting smothers children across socioeconomic classes. “Chasing Childhood” follows education professionals and reformed helicopter parents who offer solutions for developing more confident, joyful children.

Borsch: The Secret Ingredient
Dir. Dmitro Kochniev.
Meat-based or vegetarian, with or without beans, potatoes in or out, tomato sauce or real tomatoes added, dried mushrooms or smoked pears, or maybe just mom’s borsch? Which variant should be considered “the real thing”? The battles have been lasting for years. That is why Yevhen Klopotenko, a well-known chef, sets out on a journey across Ukraine to uncover the most fascinating borsch recipes and to find the secret ingredients which make this dish unique! During this trip, Yevhen reaches a conclusion that recipe components are not a priority but people and their values are.

This year’s judging panel includes Chloe Fineman (SNL cast member), Dan Perlman (Showtime’s Flatbush Misdemeanors), Miriam Shor (Younger, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), actor/director Jennifer Morrison (This is Us, dir. Euphoria), Tallie Me del (Everything Everywhere All at Once) among others.

LESFF 2022 In-Person Schedule

Thursday, July 7th – OPENING NIGHT

Ukraine x LESFF
6:30 pm at Village East Cinema

In association with CinemaAid Ukraine, LESFF brings together a unique showcase of World Premiere shorts from Ukrainian filmmakers both in Ukraine and around the globe. For the past decade, LESFF has made The Village East Cinema, a theater in the heart of ‘little Ukraine,’ it’s home. Ukraine x LESFF is a celebration of the deep Ukrainian roots in the city, and the deep passion for cinema within Ukraine. Complimentary beer & wine will be served, as well as snacks provided by Veselka.

Films include:

Oh!
Directed by OLGA ZOLOTAREVA
A young family with two children goes to the country house to take a break from the city bustle and take out the old junk from the apartment. There is a conflict between the children. The brother has stolen the candy from his sister. But parents are so busy with their thoughts that they don’t pay much attention to them. As follows they almost knock down an old woman on the road. In order to solve the conflict, the couple decides to bring her to the gas station. What will the journey turn into? What will be the price of child theft?

Mia Donna
Directed by. PAVLO OSTRІKO
Oksana and Tolik are a couple who have lived together for almost 30 years. Oksana, as the dominant woman in the family, considers Tolik completely independent. Choosing clothes at the Khmelnytsky Bazaar, she asks her husband to wear a T-shirt. He reluctantly steps into the blind and turns into a seven-year-old boy. Doctors are powerless and no one can bring him back. Oksana clings to the old life, but the problem is more serious than she thought.

The War that Changed Rondo
Directed by OLGA GAVRYLOVA
The film represents a story about a war that has no heart and does not understand any language, but touches everyone and leaves scars on everyone.

If you close your eyes tightly
Directed by ARSENIY PRYLIPKA
Little Leo dreams of being given a camera for his birthday and he is looking forward to this event. But when he accidentally sees his mother with another man during the celebration, his desire changes.

Thank You!
Directed by MAKSIM LIUKOV
A young volunteer on an old minibus is trying to bring vital things to the military in the East, where there is fighting, but there are difficulties along the way. People far from volunteering are trying to help the guy. The film shoots a real volunteer car that has driven more than 1000 km in the war zone, delivering medicines and evacuating the wounded.

I Heart NY Night Shorts
8:30 pm at Village East Cinema

Whether it’s a lover of vintage books in Greenwich Village, a mysterious downstairs neighbor in Bushwick, or a family of Sneakerheads in New Jersey (yes NJ counts), these characters remind us of our true love for this little town.

Films include: Hallelujah Anyway, Anyway; Bacon N’ Laces; No Hoodie; Jefferson Ave; 34 Carmine St

OPENING NIGHT PARTY
10:00 PM at The Delancey Rooftop

Kick-off the 12th Annual LESFF atop the canopied Rooftop Garden of The Delancey in the Lower East Side. Beats by D’Jay Tilda, complimentary drinks, and live performances from special guests.

Friday, July 8th

Filmmaker Reception
3 PM – 5 PM at Bronx Brewery East Village

LESFF welcomes our 2022 Filmmakers to meet and mingle for an afternoon of brews in collaboration with our partner and new neighbor, Bronx Brewery East Village. We’ll be serving our very own custom brew, BXB x LESFF’s ‘Passion Project Pale Ale’. This passion fruit-infused pale ale, named in honor of our filmmakers’ labors of love, is a medium-bodied, citrus-forward beer and will be available at the Filmmaker Reception, as well as all of our screening, and at the Bronx Brewery East Village Tap Room beginning July 7th for the duration of the festival!

Creepy Creature Double Feature Pt. 1: CRABS!
7:00 PM at Village East Cinema

Join us for a Creepy Creature Double Feature. Our first film will be the NEW YORK PREMIERE of CRABS! A horde of murderous crab monsters descend on a sleepy coastal town on Prom night, and only a ragtag group of outcasts can save the day.

Writer/Director Pierce Berolzheimer will join us for a short Q&A after the screening.

Creepy Creature Double Feature Pt. 2: 20 Anniversary: Eight Legged Freaks
9:00 PM at Village East Cinema

Join us for a Creepy Creature Double Feature. Our second film will be the 20th-anniversary screening of Eight Legged Freaks. Venomous spiders get exposed to a noxious chemical that causes them to grow to monumental proportions. Starring David Arquette and then-newcomer Scarlett Johansson.

Saturday, July 9th

Feature Documentary: I am Gen Z
6:00 PM at Village East Cinema

Through expert interviews and the web lens of Generation Z, this documentary explores how the digital revolution is impacting our society, our brains and mental health. It dives into how the forces driving the digital revolution are working against humanity and have put us on a dangerous trajectory that has huge ramifications for this first generation growing up with mobile digital technology. Directed by Liz Smith. Filmmakers in attendance for Q&A to follow.

What Is Love? Shorts
6:30 PM at Village East Cinema

What does love look like? Can we define it? Is it in the kindness of strangers, a bond tested between best friends or the tension of a first date? This Shorts Showcase explores and celebrates all kinds of love – no matter what shape it takes.

Films include: Niko & Eleanor; Egg; Drumtalk; Send Nudes; Buzzkill; Mr Oberbeck

Doc Night Shorts
8:30 PM at Village East Cinema

You can’t make this sh*t up. Always our most popular night of programming, this year’s documentary shorts night includes falconry, rock stars, and one very legendary documentarian.

Films include: By Any Means: Manny Kirchheimer makes SONS at 90; Game Hawker; DOPOYUMemories; Bacon N’ Laces

Sunday, July 10th

Party of One Short
6:30 pm at Village East Cinema

You’re in good company. Mid-life crisis? Quarter-life crisis? Pandemic-induced existential crisis? This showcase will have you sighing in recognition, laughing through tears, and realizing – you’re not alone.

Films include: Help Me Mary; Bitter Taste; I Love You, I Hate You; Mover

The Great Outdoors Shorts
8:30 PM at Village East Cinema

A celebration of the world outside and the communities we build there. This shorts program will bring you to mountain peaks, continental coastlines, desert plateaus, and back again. All without leaving your seat.

Films include: Game Hawker; The Black Foxes; Camp Yoshi; Malik

Monday, July 11th – CLOSING NIGHT

JK LOL Shorts
7:30 PM at Village East Cinema

You deserve a good laugh and a reason to stop scrolling TikTok. Come join us for slightly longer stories on a much larger screen with this showcase of highly curated comedy shorts.

Films include: We Should Get Dinner; Squirrel Wars; Buzzkill; Aspirational Slut; My House, Carl; SPF

CLOSING NIGHT PARTY
9:00 PM at Blind Barber

Close out the 2022 Lower East Side Film Festival with a rowdy celebration at Blind Barber with complimentary drinks, and a live DJ.

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