Friday, September 3, 2021

Rockaway Film Festival Runs September 13-19, ft. new outdoor cinema and in-person guests



This year's festival will see the opening of a newly completed outdoor cinema— the first movie theater on the peninsula in over 20 years! 

The festival will showcase 12 features and 38 shorts, highlighting local filmmakers including Robert Carnevale and Amit Desai, and will feature daily in-person discussions with filmmakers including Oscar-nominated Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah)

Queens, NY - This September, Rockaway Film Festival opens their newly completed outdoor cinema, which is the first movie theater on the peninsula in over 20 years. The 200 seat theater is a partnership with Rockaway Brewing Co. and made possible thanks to a generous community effort. 

Over the course of the week, the festival will show 12 feature films and 38 shorts, highlighting local filmmakers like Rockaway’s Robert Carnevale, whose feel-good Zombie flick Sam and Mattie Make a Movie will be spotlighted on opening night, and Amit Desai’s shapeshifting Cross Eyed in which local Queens teens perform. Guest programmers include Jason Evans of This Long Century and Rockaway’s Benny’s Club, an organization dedicated to creating space for BIPOC and queer surfers.

Every day will feature in-person, post-screening discussions with filmmakers, including Jane Schoenbrun for their breakout feature We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, Oscar-nominated Shaka King for his award-winning Judas and the Black Messiah, Sky Hopinka, whose debut feature maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore will play Saturday night, and Courtney Stephens, who will also live-narrate her essay film Terra Femme in a special performance. 

The seven-day festival will include musical performances from local musicians Tall Juan, Blac Rabbit, Erosika, and L.E.S. stalwart, Jeffrey Lewis. As well as special DJ sets by Edan and Andrew Vanwyngarden.

The outdoor cinema will have a rotating menu from local vendors: West African dishes from The Cradle, neapolitan pizza from Seany Slices and other delicious bites from Brothers. 

For the full schedule please visit http:/  

“Our latest cinema is the most ambitious one yet, and it's been an incredible joy to put it together with so many friends and neighbors. People relish spaces that cater to their surroundings and I think it makes for a better overall experience for those coming from a far or from just around the corner. The community enthusiasm gives us vital momentum toward our goal of filling the cinema-void on this beloved peninsula.” -- Sam Fleischner, Co-founder, Rockaway Film Festival. 

“Cinemas are vehicles of connection and change, and are especially important after such a hard year. We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to share our new outdoor space with the community and enjoy movies together again.” -- Courtney Muller, Co-founder, Rockaway Film Festival.


Uniting movie lovers across NYC's largest cinema desert, Rockaway Film Festival is a nomadic moving-image celebration that strives for inclusion and enrichment through meaningful events. Like the peninsula itself, the festival represents a broad spectrum of images and stories, and aims to captivate and connect all members of our vibrant community. The festival is a 501c3 non-profit founded in 2018 by Sam Fleischner, Courtney Muller, and Greg Stewart. 

This festival would not be possible without our sponsors: Istic Illic Pictures and Blundstone, our signature partners; Rockaway Brewing Co. for generously giving us space to show films; The Rockaway Hotel, Camp Rockaway, and Rockaway Retreat House for putting up our filmmakers and special guests, and The Rockaway Times, NYC Ferry, & Super Burrito for their added support. 

Additional support from Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the New York State Legislature and administered by the Queens Council on the Arts. 

Contact for Rockaway Film Festival: Courtney Muller & Sam Fleischner:r

2021 Lineup




Argentinian punk jams from a Rockaway local 



The beach and its surroundings are part of art history—from the Impressionists to photographers like Rineke Dijkstra—with artists often drawn to the incredible light and color available to them in these locations. Continuing in this tradition, the experimental art-based short films and videos in this program take us across both sand and ocean, creating visuals that sometimes feel everyday and other times seem absurd. Programmed by Jason Evans (This Long Century). 

ISLAND SONG by Charlemagne Palestine. 1976. 16.5 min.

DIGGING PIECE by Vito Acconci. 1970. 10 min.

LOUNGE/NOT LOUNGE by Phyllis Baldino. 1993, 9 min.

OCEAN BIRD (WASHUP) by Ana Mendieta. 1974, 4 min.

DAWN SURF JELLYBOWL by Jennifer West. 2011. 8 min.

HEAVEN by Tracey Moffatt. 1997. 28 min.

WATER PLASTIC BAG by Anthony Ramos. 1973. 9 min.

SAMUEL by Gillian Garcia. 2018, 1.5 min.

PIETA by Bruce Baillie. 1998. 2 min.

GHOST OF ASIA by Apichatpong Weerasethakul & Christelle Lheureux. 2005. 9 min. 

Special thanks to EAI for making this program possible . 


Post-screening discussion with stars Sam Suchmann & Mattie Zufelt and filmmaker Robert Carnevale.

Directed by Rockaway resident Robert Carnevale & Jesse Suchmann, Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie is feel-good blood and guts. Sam and Mattie are two best friends who are determined to make the most epic zombie movie ever. Confounding disability stigmas, the film is a spectacular display of DIY gore and a joyous example of friendship and community.




Rarely is New York City considered a seatown, though it is surrounded by over 500 miles of shoreline. This collection of short experimental documentaries takes us from the sticky waters of the Gowanus Canal to the moonlit urban beaches of Jamaica Bay, with apocalyptic train stops in the overgrown Brooklyn Navy Yard and a peninsula off the Bronx River. As the city prepares for its next era battling climate change and sea level rise, consider the creatures and people who live and rely on this tenuous stretch of land. Programmed by Emily Packer.

RIVER ONE by Robert Sommerlad. 2019. 2 min.

IMAGINED RUINS by Emma Yi. 2019 16 min.

URBAN GROWTH by Nathan Kensinger & Nate Dorr. 2020. 13 min.

FORM FOLLOWS FOREPLAY by the Institute of Queer Ecology. 2019. 4 min.

BY WAY OF CANARSIE by Emily Packer & Lesley Steele. 2020. 14 min.

THE WHELMING SEA by Sean Hanley. 2020. 29 min.

FLOTSAM by Robin Smith Fedock. 2020. 3 min.

METAMORPHOSIS: LIQUIDATION by the Institute of Queer Ecology. 2020. 13 min.

A DROP IN THE HARBOR by Emily Packer. 2021. 10 min.

Post-screening discussion with filmmakers Nathan Kensinger, Nate Dorr, Emily Packer, Lesley Steele, Ben Still, Sean Hanley & Robin Smith Fedock.


CROSS EYED by Amit Desai. 2021. 100 min.

A troupe of teens put on a play written by director and Queens local Amit Desai. Unrehearsed conversations bleed into scripted lines in this shapeshifting document of surreal theater. On the verge of adulthood, the performers discuss their fears, queerness, and ideas of truth and fiction as they free-fall into performative self-reflection.

Post-screening discussion with filmmaker Amit Desai.




Psychedelic rock from Rockaway superstars.



Programmed by Benny’s Club.

This screening is the conclusion of a three-month series exploring what it looks like to build a surf culture that is true to our messy, political, creative lives on land and in the water. The program will take us from Hawaii to California, South Africa, Iran, and Australia, mapping an international group of unique surf communities. We’re closing the series out with a program that investigates how surfing changed in the 20 years between the mid-90s and mid-2010s, using the vision of one filmmaker, Andrew Kidman, as our experiment’s control.

Benny’s Club is a queer and BIPOC-centered surf collective—a community dedicated to connecting and uplifting surfers who’ve been sidelined by surf culture at large as well as increasing access to surfing for queer and BIPOC New Yorkers. 

 SPIRIT OF AKASHA SESSIONS by Andrew Kidman. 2013. 6 min. 

A celebration of the 40th anniversary of surf classic Morning of the Earth. Stephanie Gilmore surfs a Dave Parmenter single fin in an attempt to recreate and inhabit the lines Michael Peterson drew in Morning of the Earth, before machismo and commercialization overtook surfing’s mainstream. What results is one of the most inspired surf sequences this side of the millennium, and a glimpse at the kind of expression and freedom we might find beyond the strictures of the binary gender regime.

LITMUS by Jon Frank & Andrew Kidman. 1996. 56 min.

A film that changed the course of professional surfing and influenced two generations to practice a more creative approach to wave-riding. Litmus marks a turning point that expanded professional surfing beyond the competitive realm. The film reignites the spirit of self expression and intuitive exploration that got lost in the commercialization of the late 80s and early 90s.



Sarah Lasley delves into a long held childhood fantasy by inserting herself into that famous scene from Dirty Dancing in this playfully reappropriated romance.

THE WATERMELON WOMAN by Cheryl Dunye, 1996, 90 min.

A beloved classic from the New Queer Cinema movement, The Watermelon Woman also stars director Cheryl Dunye as a young video store employee on a mission to learn more about “The Watermelon Woman,” a 1930’s Black movie star. Through check-out counter flirtations and direct-camera confessions, The Watermelon Woman is a self-aware romantic comedy about uncovering Black stories.


LIVE DJ set by Andrew VanWyngarden.




Prolific LES indie-folk rocker and comic book artist.


Jeffrey Lewis - Live solo set 



A screening of short animations about searching for meaning in everyday life. How can we read routine? What can we uncover in our words? How can we peel back quotidien moments to create understanding? Programmed by Becky James.

YOU ARE HERE by Dena Springer. 2020. 3 min.

THE OPPOSITES GAME by Anna Samo & Lisa LaBracio. 2019. 5 min.

SAVER by Simon Gerbaud. 2015. 8 min.

HEDGEHOG IN THE FOG by Yuri Norstein. 1975. 10 min.

TOUCH by Caitlin Craggs. 2015. 2 min.

THE BATS by Jim Trainor. 1998. 8 min.

MEAT DEPARTMENT by Will Jewkes. 2021. 3 min.

WEDNESDAY WITH GODDARD by Nicolas Ménard. 2016. 4 min.

HAND COLORED NO. 2 by Lei Lei & Thomas Sauvin. 2015. 5 min.

THE WIND by Miranda Javid. 2020. 4 min.

HOW LONG, NOT LONG by Michelle & Uri Kranot (2016). 6 min.

EVERYTHING by David OReilly. 2017. 11 min.

Post-screening discussion with Miranda Javid, Anna Samo, Lisa LaBracio, Caitlin Craggs, Will Jewkes & Becky James.


UNTITLED (GHOST FILM) by Sam B. Jones & Mimi Bai. 2021. 4 min.

In choreographed camouflage, two ghosts cautiously discover each other in the woods. 

WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR by Jane Schoenbrun. 2021. 86 min.

A standout from Sundance and New Directors/New Films, Jane Schoenbrun’s debut feature is a hypnotic horror film of the internet age. The film centers on Casey (Anna Cobb), a lonely teen who enters a new virtual world via a mysterious role-playing game. Through webcam recordings and youtube wormholes, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair explores ideas of identity and isolation with gentle vulnerability. 

Post-screening discussion with filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun. 


24-HOUR WEEKEND AT BERNIES by Jon Dieringer. 2015. 1440 min.

Concerning the passage of time and mortality. On loop throughout the weekend. 


Tall Juan - Live solo set 


EL PLANETA by Amalia Ulman. 2021. 82 min. 

Inspired by real-life mother-daughter con-artists, Amalia Ulman’s debut feature El Planeta is the story of a broke duo who pretend to be wealthy to scam their way out of paying for things. Ulman is a seasoned persona shifter whose multidisciplinary art pieces often deal with ideas of performance and identity—El Planeta is no exception. Ulman stars in the film alongside her actual mother, Alejandra Ulman in a dryly comedic yet refreshingly honest portrait of class and poverty.   


MULIGNANS by Shaka King. 2014. 5 min

mulignan(s) /moo.lin.yan(s)/ n. 1. Italian-American slang for a black man. Derived from Italian dialect word for "eggplant." See also: moolie. Source: Urban Dictionary and pretty much every mob movie ever. 

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH by Shaka King. 2021. 126 min.

Nominated for six Academy Awards, Judas and the Black Messiah is a powerful and disturbing recounting of Fred Hampton’s assasination by Chicago police. The anxiety-inducing historical drama is a dual portrait of the charismatic, socialist visionary Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) and his broken betrayer, Bill O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield). A suspenseful depiction of two complex figures caught in the politics of revolution, the film is also an ode to the legacy of the Illinois Black Panther party. 

Post-screening discussion with filmmaker Shaka King.



Legendary DJ Edan mixing tunes and live visuals. Free with movie ticket.




Hypnotic tones from a true visionary. Stick around for her short Lavender House in the following Algorithm screening. Free with movie ticket.



This program of short films travels through social algorithms of the everyday. Objects become flexible, recontextualized as indifferently omniscient narrators guide us through striking patterns of possession, appropriation, exploitation and assigned meaning. *This program contains brief explicit content. 

Post-screening discussion with filmmakers Jorge Morillo and Sarah Rara. 

BETWEEN RELATING AND USE by Nazli Dinçel. 2018. 9 min.

THIS IS AN ANIMATED 3D MODEL OF A MILK CRATE by Jorge Morillo. 2020. 12.5 min.

LAVENDER HOUSE by Sarah Rara. 2020. 24 min.

ONE THOUSAND AND ONE ATTEMPTS TO BE AN OCEAN by Wang Yuyan. 2020. 11.5 min. 



Ho-Chunk artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka’s experimental debut feature is a lush meditation on agency (in both life and death) and indigenous knowledge. Hopinka’s patient gaze centers on Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier as they explore the richly saturated natural landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Maɬni (pronounced moth-nee) contemplates the generational resonance of a Chinookan origin-of-death myth.

Post-screening discussion with filmmaker Sky Hopinka.


1:00PM at Brewery 

THE POINT by Fred Wolf. 1971. 74 min.

“Does everything need to have a point?” 

Based on Harry Nilsson’s 1971 album The Point! and narrated by Ringo Starr, this timeless coming-of-age tells the story of Oblio, a round-headed outcast in a kingdom of points. Indulge in the nostalgia of this animated fable about acceptance and the wonderfulness of individuality. 

5:00PM at Brewery 

WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S by Ted Kotcheff. 1989. 98 min.

Two unsuspecting coworkers arrive at a private beach house getaway only to discover their boss, Bernie, has been murdered. Fearing they’ll be pinned with the crime, they enjoy the rest of their vacation dragging around an incognito corpse, pretending Bernie is still alive. Wrap up the summer with this absurd and perfect beach flick. 


TERRA FEMME by Courtney Stephens. 2017-21. 62 min.

“What does the narrative of exploration offer women?”

 Courtney Stephens’s live-narrated essay film resurrects archival footage shot by women in the 1920’s-40’s in an intimate time capsule of pure perspective. The amateur filmmakers construct their own narratives through personal diaries, dipping into private wanderlust and quietly reaffirming their agency and freedom.

Post-screening discussion with filmmaker Courtney Stephens.



Special performance from a local Rockaway electronic sound artist. Free with movie ticket. 


SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS by Lisa Rovner. 2020. 84 min.

Narrated by sonic legend Laurie Anderson, Sisters with Transistors connects the under-told legacies of radical electronic music monoliths. These vital women opened a new frontier of energy and sound with ground-breaking technologies, transformative instrument-machines and boundless innovation. Reverberate in the collective history with Clara Rockmore, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, Éliane Radigue, Maryanne Amacher, Bebe Barron, Suzanne Ciani, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, and Wendy Carlos. 

No comments:

Post a Comment