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Venice Film Festival, Netflix & The Gotham Institute Team Up For ‘Next Generation’ Program At New York’s Paris Theater

By Andreas Wiseman,


EXCLUSIVE : Venice Film Festival, Netflix and The Gotham Film & Media Institute are teaming up on a program of movies at iconic New York venue, the Paris Theater. Scroll down for program lineup in full.

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Titled Venice Film Festival Presents: Next Generation , the four day event (April 20-23) will showcase films from the first ten years of La Biennale di Venezia’s Biennale College Cinema.

Screenings will be accompanied by in-depth discussions pairing new filmmakers with established directors, producers, and writers. The opening night will feature a screening of mystery-thriller Our Father, The Devil with remarks from Venice Director Alberto Barbera and Head of Programme Savina Neirotti. Indie Spirit winner Nikyatu Jusu, whose Sundance film Nanny was picked up by Amazon and Blumhouse, will serve as moderator for the opening night discussion with director Ellie Foumbi.

Biennale College Cinema is an incubator program for low-budget films by emerging filmmakers. Among films to emerge have been Ricky D’Ambrose’s Spirit Award-winner The Cathedral, and Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection.

Each year a lineup of twelve first and second works is selected for the Biennale College Cinema by Venice chief Alberto Barbera with Head of Program Savina Neirotti. Up to four of the development projects are then selected for production with €200k ($200k) grants and a place at the Venice Film Festival proper once completed. The projects are supported throughout production.

The Paris Theater is New York City’s longest-running arthouse single screen venue. Opened in 1948, it was slated to close in 2019 but was rescued and renovated by Netflix.

Venice Film Festival Presents: Next Generation will be a unique event that will joyfully showcase the beauty and skill contained in some of the many magnificent films that have emerged from Biennale College Cinema in its first decade,” said Alberto Barbera and Savina Neirotti. “We’re deeply appreciative of the continued support from our friends and academic partners at The Gotham, as well as the kind people at Netflix, who are committed to ushering many more decades of wonderful films.”

“This is a very exciting program for the Paris Theater,” said Spencer Klein, Netflix’s Head of Distribution. “We’re thrilled to bring this important component of the Venice Film Festival to New York audiences, and are especially pleased at the quality of the films we’ll be showing and the fact that the filmmakers will be there to discuss their work.”

“On top of organizing the oldest and one of the most influential film festivals in the world, La Biennale di Venezia passionately nurtures and champions up-and-coming filmmakers through the remarkable Biennale College Cinema,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute, parent company of the Gotham Awards. “We’re proud of our longstanding collaboration with Biennale College Cinema and we’re thrilled to partner with La Biennale di Venezia and Netflix on sharing some of the excellent work to emerge from this incredible program.”


Thursday, April 20

7:00 p.m.

Opening night program

OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL with director Ellie Foumbi in person

Post-screening discussion with Ellie Foumbi moderated by Nikyatu Jusu ( Nanny )

(France, 2021, 1 hr 48 mins., Dir. Ellie Foumbi. With Babetida Sadjo, Jennifer Tchiapke, Souléymane Sy Savané)

Set in a sleepy French town, Ellie Foumbi’s gripping drama is a tale of memory and revenge that unfolds like a suspense thriller. Babetida Sadjo is spellbinding as Marie, the head chef at a retirement home. Her easy day-to-day life spent caring for residents, hanging out with her co-worker and best friend Nadia (Jennifer Tchiakpe), and teasing a potential new romance is disrupted by the arrival of Father Patrick (Souleìymane Sy Savané), an African priest whom she recognizes from a terrifying episode in her homeland. As he further endears himself to the residents and staff, Marie is forced to decide how best to deal with this reminder of her troubled past.

The evening will open with a tribute to Venice Film Festival Artistic Director Alberto Barbera, and Biennale College Cinema Head Savina Neirotti.

Friday, April 21

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7:00 p.m.

HOTEL SALVATION with director Shubhashish Bhutiani in person

(India, 2016, 1 hr 42 mins, Dir. Shubhashish Bhutiani. With Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Geetanjali Kulkarni)

Adil Hussain ( Life of Pi ) stars as Rajiv, an overworked businessman, who agrees to honor the final wish of his father, Daya, by accompanying him to the holy city of Varanasi. There, they check in to the Hotel Salvation, where residents are given just two weeks to live out their final days or return home. While Daya revels in the simple pleasures of this timeless place, Rajiv finds himself burdened by the many obligations he left behind. The story of family bonds and the acceptance of death is universal, but with a light touch and a deeply observant style, Bhutiani deeply grounds his film in the reality of Indian culture and daily life.

Saturday, April 22

3:00 p.m.

BEAUTIFUL THINGS with director Giorgio Ferrero in person

(Italy, 2017, 1 hr 33 mins., Dir. Giorgio Ferrero)

Beautiful Things is a journey into our obsessive consumption. Giorgio Ferrero’s wonderfully original and visually stunning documentary follows four men who work alone in: a vast Texas oilfield, the hull of a cargo ship, an echo-less chamber, and a concrete waste sorting pit. These disparate characters are united in the chain of creation, logistics, marketing, and destruction of objects that permeates our world. Ferrero helps us see our world anew, offering an escape from what he calls “the bulimia of our contemporary lifestyle.”

7:00 p.m.

THE FITS with director Anna Rose Holmer in person

(U.S., 2015, 1 hr 12 mins. Dir. Anna Rose Holmer. With Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor.)

Eleven-year-old tomboy Toni (a showstopping Royalty Hightower) is bewitched by the tight-knit dance team she sees practicing in the same Cincinnati gymnasium where she boxes. Enamored by the power and confidence of the strong community of girls, Toni spends less and less time boxing with her older brother, and instead eagerly absorbs the dance routines and masters drills from a distance, and even pierces her own ears in an effort to fit in. But when a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance becomes more complicated.

Sunday, April 23

3:00 p.m.

THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION and video interview with director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

(Lesotho, 2019, 2 hrs 2 mins. Directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese. With Mary Twala Mhlongo)

With a poet’s eye for place, light, and the spiritual dimensions of everyday existence, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese crafts a meditation on the concept of homeland and a transcendent elegy for what is lost in the name of progress. Grieving and alone following the deaths of her husband and children, elderly Mantoa (Mary Twala Mhlongo, in a soul-shaking performance) prepares for her own death and to be buried alongside her ancestors. When plans for a new dam near her village in the landlocked kingdom of Lesotho threaten to literally wash away all she holds dear, Mantoa takes a last stand, mobilizing her neighbors to fight for their land and their way of life.

7:00 p.m.

THE CATHEDRAL and director Ricky D’Ambrose in person

(U.S., 2021, 1 hr 28 mins., Directed by Ricky D’Ambrose. With Brian D’Arcy James, Monica Barbaro)

This multigenerational tale tracks one family’s rise and fall over decades, as seen through the eyes of its youngest member, Jesse, an only child who develops an interest in art. We see a family and a country come undone in Ricky D’Ambrose’s Spirit Award-winning drama. Deploying a Bressonian framing of richly textured interior and delicate hand gestures, these nostalgic glimpses at a fractured father-son bond meticulously conjure a bygone 1980-s and 1990s Long Island. (A MUBI release)

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