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IFP, Filmmaker Magazine, and the Museum of Modern Art Announce Ninth Annual Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You® Series

by Erik Luers on November 26, 2014

New York, NY (November 26, 2014) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), Filmmaker Magazine, and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) today announced the five films selected for the organizations’ annual Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You® series, running December 12 – 15 at MoMA. The films selected for the ninth annual edition are: Amanda Rose Wilder’s Approaching the Elephant, Iva Radivojevic’s Evaporating Borders, Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn’s L for Leisure, John Magary’s The Mend, and Nathan Silver’s Uncertain Terms.

The Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You series singles out notable films from the festival circuit that have yet to be picked up for theatrical distribution. Past selections have included Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love, Kevin Jerome Everson’s The Island of St. Matthews, Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Amy Seimetz’s Sun Don’t Shine, Alex Karpovsky’s Red Flag, Mark Jackson’s Without, Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues, So Yong Kim’s In Between Days, and Ronald Bronstein’s Frownland. This year’s series was curated by Filmmaker Magazine Editor-in-Chief Scott Macaulay, MoMA Department of Film Curatorial Assistant Sophie Cavoulacos, Filmmaker Managing Editor Vadim Rizov and IFP Senior Director of Programming, Milton Tabbot.

“Each year as we begin to curate this series we despair of finding filmmakers who, by the time December rolls around, haven’t capitulated their films to the small-screen, algorithmically-driven gods of downloads and VOD” said Filmmaker Editor Scott Macaulay. “And each year, we rejoice when we find great films by filmmakers whose belief in the large screen is an act of almost optimistic rebellion. This year’s intense, seductive, passionate titles are a particularly potent argument for the pleasures of the big screen.”

Details of the five films follow:

 Approaching the Elephant

2014. USA. Directed by Amanda Rose Wilder. Little Falls, NJ, 2007: the new Teddy McArdle Free School is a passion project for founder Alex Khost, who believes in a form of education that requires kids to shape their own moral compass, enabling them to discover for themselves the value of a more traditional curriculum and following the social contract. Khost’s good intentions are derailed by Jiovanni, a problem child who threatens to disrupt the nascent institution. Amanda Rose Wilder’s verite-oriented documentary is both a full-on immersion in the chaos of childhood and a case study in how one benevolent democracy determines how far it can legitimately go to suppress one troublesome member. 89 min.

Evaporating Borders

2014. USA/Cyprus. Directed by Iva Radivojevic. A poetic essay in five parts, Evaporating Borders explores issues of migration as experienced by asylum seekers in Cyprus. This feature debut from Iva Radivojevic, who left her native Yugoslavia for Cyprus during the unrest of the 1990s, brings to life its tenuous contradictions – a gateway to Europe that remains a breeding ground for discrimination and xenophobia; a divided island on the idyllic Mediterranean. Radivojevic’s film is a graceful meditation on national identity, diaspora and exile, and serves as alarming documentation of the plight of migrants on the island and beyond. 73 min.

L for Leisure

2014. USA. Directed by Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn. Critical theory meets Carsey-Werner in Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn’s improbable ode to holiday fun, L for Leisure. Set in the early ‘90s, the film features a group of attractive graduate school co-eds who jet from one upscale vacation spot to the next, tossing off deadpan one-liners about the end of history and race as a social construct along the way. Adorned with a gauzy, synth-pop score, L for Leisure is both a delicious social satire as well as a dreamy, almost sci-fi like evocation of a nattily brainy alternate past. 74 min.

The Mend

2014. USA. Directed by John Magary. Routinely estranged brothers Mat (Josh Lucas) and Alan (Stephen Plunkett) are equally unhappy, but the former embraces chaos and rudeness while the latter conceals his discontent. With both their lives on a downhill slide, Mat and Alan are temporarily reunited as roommates, uneasily sharing a Harlem apartment. Judd Greenstein and Michi Wiancko’s bracingly modernist score sets the tone for this Desplechin-esque study of shared familial dysfunction, brimming with smart, hostile talk aggressively filmed by writer-director John Magary. 111 min.

 Uncertain Terms

2014. USA. Directed by Nathan Silver. A bucolic home for pregnant teens and a handsome handyman fleeing a crumbling marriage are the elements of fiercely independent filmmaker Nathan Silver’s fourth feature, Uncertain Terms. Receiving its New York premiere — and co-starring, as is often the case, the director’s mother, Cindy — the film finds in its isolated setting a strangeness tender drama about life’s indeterminacies. 71 min.

All films will screen in the Museum of Modern Art’s Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2. For more information go to http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1536

About IFP

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 35-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at www.ifp.org.

About Filmmaker Magazine

Under the guidance of founder and editor-in-chief, Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine has grown into the foremost magazine in the independent film community. Published by IFP – the Independent Filmmaker Project — Filmmaker is the go-to publication for writers, directors, producers, film industry representatives, and others working in independent film. Written by working independent filmmakers, and with a unique, authoritative voice, Filmmaker’s print edition is published quarterly with new interviews, festival reports, and technical and business news appearing on its website daily. Learn more at:www.filmmakermagazine.com.

About the Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019, (212) 708-9400, MoMA.org. Hours: Saturday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Museum Admission: $25 adults; $18 seniors, 65 years and over with I.D.; $14 full-time students with current I.D. Free, members and children 16 and under. (Includes admittance o Museum galleries and film programs). Free admission during Uniqlo Free Friday Nights: Fridays, 4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. MoMA.org: No service charge for tickets ordered on MoMA.org. Tickets purchased online may be printed out and presented at the Museum without waiting in line. (Includes admittance to Museum galleries and film programs). Film and After Hours Program Admission: $12 adults; $10 seniors, 65 years and over with I.D.; $8 full-time students with current I.D. The price of an After Hours Program Admission ticket may be applied toward the price of a Museum admission ticket or MoMA Membership within 30 days.

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Press contact:

IFP: Jody Arlington / Director of Communications, IFP / jarlington@ifp.org / 202.316.4316 mobile

MoMA: Meg Montgoris / Publicist, Department of Communications, The Museum of Modern Art / Meg_Montgoris@moma.org / 212-708-9757