Lower East Side Film Festival Opens 7th Season Tomorrow Night

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The 7th Annual Lower East Side Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night with a diverse lineup of films from up-and-coming directors plus the usual wacky assortment of special events complete with free beer! This year, there’s a comedy night featuring standup from vets of Saturday Night Live and the Daily Show, an ice cream social on a Bowery rooftop and a 25-year anniversary screening of Home Alone II followed by a “Christmas party.”

Here are some of the highlights that jumped out at us for the first few nights of the eight day run:

–Tomorrow’s opening night film is Avenues, Michael Angarano’s contemporary New York City-based drama that draws inspiration from 1970s classics from the likes of Woody Allen and John Cassavetes. There will be a Q&A  with the filmmaker followed by an opening party sponsored by Vimeo at Drom (with free beer and wine and live music).

–That screening of Home Alone II is a special midnight event on Friday, complete with free beer, pizza and special guests in a Christmas-time themed nostalgia-fest. Yes, you are welcome to express your feelings as, “everyone’s least favorite cheeto makes his cameo on screen!”

There’s an extra bonus on Friday. $5 from each ticket will be donated to Henry Street Settlement in support of the historic LES organization’s social service programs. By selecting “General Admission,” you are giving a gift to Henry Street.

–On Saturday, there’s a comedy shorts showcase, plus a standup special featuring comedians Sasheer Zamata (SNL), Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) and Jena Friedman (Daily Show with Jon Stewart).

–On Sunday, it’s the U.S. premiere of Kosher Love, which “looks at the search for true love and marriage in the Orthodox Jewish world as it pushes back against an ever encroaching, wired, secular world.”

Other special programs include: Ladies Night, Queer Shorts, Mind F*ck Shorts and the closing night documentary feature, Mermaids. We’ll have more details as the festival gets underway. In the meantime, check out the full festival schedule  and the festival teaser below.

Tickets Go on Sale For 2016 Lower East Side Film Festival

Lower East Side Film Festival: making a big splash at Sixty LES.

Lower East Side Film Festival: making a big splash at Sixty LES.

Beginning today, tickets are on sale for this summer’s rendition of the Lower East Side Film Festival.

Highlights this year include the premiere of Art of the Prank, a documentary about satirist Joey Skaggs; The Rainbow Kid, a gritty coming of age story; and a showing of Streit’s: Matzo & the American Dream. Popular events from past years will be back, including the always entertaining Gay Night Pool Party at Sixty LES. But there will also be some twists, such as a Horror and Suspense Screenwriters’ panel talk held at the brand new Ludlow House.

The 6th annual LES Film Fest takes place June 9-16. Click here for a full schedule and to purchase tickets.


LES Film Festival 2014 To Open With Doc About Russ & Daughters

The narrators of The Sturgeon Queens: six longtime customers – now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s – who sit around a table eating, kibitzing, and reading the script paragraph-by-paragraph, seder style. The film will open The 2014 LES Film Festival in June.

The narrators of The Sturgeon Queens: six longtime customers – now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s – who sit around a table eating, kibitzing, and reading the script paragraph-by-paragraph, seder style. The film will open The 2014 LES Film Festival in June.

Some more love for Russ & Daughters in the news today: L.E.S. Festival Directors announced  The Sturgeon Queens, the documentary about Russ & Daughters, directed by Julie Cohen, will open the 2014 Lower East Side Film Festival at 8 p.m. on June 12th at the Sunshine Cinema. In the announcement, festival director Shannon Walker said, “Russ & Daughters is celebrating its 100th year anniversary, and it’s only fitting we open the fest with an awesome documentary about such a beloved Lower East Side institution.”

The film features interviews with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, chef Mario Batali, New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin, and “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer. See our earlier story on the film here.

LES Film Festival Opens Tonight


A quick reminder that tonight’s opening night for the Lower East Side Film Festival. Click on the image for more info, and check out our previous coverage here and here.

L.E.S. Film Festival Opens with Scenes of Longing and Stark Landscapes

Still from A Little Closer, a film by Matthew Petock, which opened the L.E.S. Film Festival last night.

The L.E.S. Film Festival opened to a packed house last night at the Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street. Complimentary beer was flowing and downtown performance artist Justin Bond was in the audience. Bond is one the festival judges, along with actress Susan Sarandon, GQ Senior Editor Logan Hill, producer Jerry Kupfer, photographer Harvey Wang and writer Eric Ledgin. The lively crowd sipped beer and mixed cocktails with bottles they brought in (all film festival screenings are BYOB!).

Festival directors Shannon Walker, Damon Cardasis and creative team Roxy Hunt and Tony Castle welcomed guests to opening night and asked that all cell phones be shut off during the screening — “unless you’re tweeting about us,” Castle quipped.

LES Film Festival Announces Lineup

LES Film Festival Curators Shannon Walker and Damon Cardasis, along with fellow festival directors Roxy Hunt and Tony Castle.

The L.E.S. Film Festival has announced a fun lineup for its 2012 program, touting big name directors like Abel Ferrara and big screen talent like Willem Dafoe, Dolly Parton and Dustin Lance Black. The local festival, now in its second year, focuses on low-budget film-making and requires submissions to be made for under $200,000.

Grand Opening To Host Micro-Budget LES Film Festival

There is a fun new event coming to the neighborhood.  It’s called the LES Film Festival and it’s 20 days of independent short and feature films made for under $30,000. Screenings will be held at the intimate Grand Opening space on Norfolk Street. Their judges are local muralist Marco of MarcoArt, actress Eva Amurri (Californication, The Banger Sisters), Phil Hartman of Two Boots Pizza and Indie Film Fame, and Roxy Hunt and Tony Castle of BFD Productions.