Connecticut Film Fest

Archived List of Featured Films


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The Light Of Fire

The Cardboard Bernini - Q&A With Jimmy Grashow

77 min

The Cardboard Bernini examines the work and life of artist James Grashow as he builds a giant cardboard fountain inspired by the work of the famous baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

James Grashow is an artist who has built—among many other things—giant 15 foot tall fighting men, a city and an ocean using paper mache, fabric, chicken wire and cardboard. More recently, he has begun making sculptures entirely out of corrugated cardboard and twist ties.

Several years ago, while visiting the home of his art dealer, Allan Stone, he stumbled across some of his giant fighting men that had been put outside due to lack of space. They were disintegrating. Although it was deeply painful and shocking for him to see his work like that, it was also surprisingly beautiful. He felt that he was seeing the full arc of his artistic enterprise before him—including its end.

So, Grashow challenged himself to embrace the “backend” of his process, and decided to build a giant cardboard fountain—a Grashow “Bernini.” From its conception, he intended this work to be put outside to disintegrate. Work on the fountain began in 2007 and was completed in 2010. This film documents this process from the start to finish.

Grashow’s “corrugated fountain” premiered indoors on June 11, 2010 at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, to great acclaim. After shows in New York City and Pittsburgh, he finally installed the fountain outdoors at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT on April 1, 2012. It was there for a total of six weeks, after which time Grashow took his degraded cardboard masterpiece to the dumpster: “Ashes to ashes, mush to mush.”

This film is an intimate glimpse of an artist at work on what he considers his “final epic.” We follow Grashow as he asks what is the point of art and creation? What is the connection between creation and destruction? And, ultimately, what is the point of our lives in the face of our mortality?

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The Light Of Fire

The Collector
Q&A With Director: Olympia Stone

7:00pm Sept 11


On the Set of the Collector FilmThe Collector explores the 46-year career of Allan Stone, the famed New York City gallery owner and art collector. Producer and director Olympia Stone reveals her father’s compulsive collecting genius while telling the parallel story of his lifelong journey through the art world from the 1950s to 2006. Viewers are taken on an extraordinary path inside one man’s obsessive submersion in art and its influence on the artists, art dealers and family members with whom he worked and lived.

“To say that the house is full is perhaps an understatement: as the camera pans from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor, it stops at paintings by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman and Wayne Thiebaud; sculptures by César, Arman, John Chamberlain, James Grashow and David Beck; a tribe of African fetish pieces. The only bare spots are the paths that link the endless rooms, like trails hacked through a nearly impenetrable jungle.”

– KATHRYN SHATTUCK, The New York Times, February 10, 2007

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IRWIN
A Story In Stone

Irwin Poster

A Story In Stone Poster
 
 
 

7:00pm Sept 18


55 min

Directors: Dan Makara - Redding CT
Frank Borres - Bridgeport CT

Irwin - Feisty nonagenarian Irwin Hasen recounts his colorful life in the NYC Boxing industry and as a pioneer comic book illustrator for DC Comics on features such as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, & Wildcat. He reached nationwide stardom in the 1950's with his newspaper strip DONDI , even appearing in the 1957 feature film. A lifelong New Yorker, Irwin's bubbly tales of wine, women & song, will have you dancing in your seats!

“A Story In Stone” - 27 min
Stone Lithographer: James Reed from Milestone Graphics, Bridgeport
http://www.milestonegraphics.biz/about-milestone.html

A Story In Stone presents a brief history of French Lithographer Fernand Mourlots' introduction of Stone Lithography to America, the process used by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Toulouse-Lautrec to reproduce some masters of their work. American artist James Reed was one of the first to work with New York Mourlot printers first hand. Reed went on to establish Milestone Graphics in Bridgeport, Ct., where he's printed for local & nationally recognized artists.

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Actually Iconic: Richard Estes
Q&A With Director: Olympia Stone

Actually Iconic Poster

Actually Iconic: Richard Estes
7:00pm Sept 25


68 min

Q&A With Director: Olympia Stone

Coming Spring 2020. Richard Estes is an icon of the photorealist movement yet he has humbly avoided media attention over his long career. “Actually, Iconic: Richard Estes" invites viewers into Estes’ world with unprecedented access to the artist and his masterpieces. Through intimate discussions of his technique and inspirations, and interviews with leading curators and critics this delicate portrait does more than just explore Estes’ pioneering genius; it humanizes it.

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Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King
Q&A With Director: Olympia Stone

Double Take Poster
Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King<
7:00pm Oct. 2

82 min

Q&A With Director: Olympia Stone & Possibly Artist TBA

Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King engages the viewer in the work of sculptor and stop-action filmmaker Elizabeth King, who embarks on each new project by posing a single question to herself: “Can this be physically done?” Tracing King’s creative flow, curiosity and obsessive drive to solve the inevitable series of artistic and technical problems that arise in creating her disconcerting sculptures and animations, this documentary film explores King’s passion about the mind/body riddle, the science of emotion, the human/machine interface, and those things a robot will never be able to do. From studio to exhibition, and in conversations with fellow artists, curators and critics, the film asks what looking at and seeing one another means in an increasingly mediated world.

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Nothing Changes: Art For Hank's Sake
Q&A With Director: Matthew Kaplowitz

Nothing Changes Poster

7:00pm Oct 9


74 min

How far would you go to pursue your passion? At 87 years old, Hank Virgona commutes to his Union Square studio six days a week and makes art. Despite poor health, cancer, lack of revenue and obscurity as an artist, Hank is unrelenting in his quest to understand how life and art are the same.

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Curious Worlds - The Art and Imagination of David Beck
Q&A With Director: Olympia Stone

Curious Worlds - The Art and Imagination of David Beck Poster

7:00pm Oct 16


69 min

Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck pulls back the curtain on the singular artist David Beck: a master sculptor, carver, and miniature architect who works in a fantastical genre all his own, creating intricate worlds that are alive with magical and brilliant observations.

A largely undiscovered genius, David Beck is known to a select group of collectors and curators. During his early, formative years in New York City Beck lived on the edge of destitution. Eventually he found gallery representation and established a following of enthusiasts who snap up his work as soon as it comes out. His pieces have been shown at the MET, the Guggenheim, and some of the world’s most prominent galleries. His work, "MVSEVM" was commissioned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where it is on permanent display. To the larger public, though, he is virtually unknown.

His intricate, kinetic sculptures might be objects from a dream – fanciful buildings and hollow animals containing detailed, often humorous, scenes that are rendered on a tiny scale. Indifferent to current fashions, Beck combines modern, popular, and classical influences in his own way.

Curious Worlds captures the artist at work in his studio and reflecting on his art. It is an intimate insight into what it takes to create a masterwork: extraordinary ideas, an almost eerie ability to focus on the work, and patience. Beck submits to the camera’s invasive scrutiny with a wit and charm that is both inviting and ambivalent. Ultimately, he comes across as the smartest, most creative artist you’ve never heard of.

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The Original
Little Fiel
A Day With Barkley Hendricks

The Original

The Original
7:00pm Oct 23


Q&A With Director & Artist: Richard McMahan
The multi-talented outsider artist Richard McMahan is on a quest to painstakingly re-create thousands of famous and not-so-famous paintings and artifacts in miniature. From well-loved Picasso and Frida Kahlo paintings to more obscure intricate Maori canoes, McMahan has mastered dozens of genres over 30 years of creating, and he's made most of it on a cluttered kitchen counter using recycled materials. McMahan is also the curator of a mini-museum with a collection that surveys the scope of humanity's visual record. Olympia Stone directs this surprising portrait of a most unusual artist. Genre: Short Documentary.


Little Fiell

Followed By
Little Fiel

15:40 min
Q&A With Director: Irina Patkanian

Little Fiel is a stop motion animation/documentary that is loosely based on the life story of Mozambican artist Fiel dos Santos who grew up during the 16-year civil war - another proxy war equipped and sustained by foreign super powers. Fiel created eight figures representing his father, mother, five brothers and sister from dismantled civil war guns. Three New York artists turned them into puppets and created immersive stop-motion animation, inspired by Fiel’s memories. “Little Fiel” tells a universal story of peaceful people who have been coerced, conscripted and enticed into killing each other. It is a personal act of resistance and hope.

Guns are not killers. They are pieces of metal that can be reassembled into anything, including a little boy, a bird or a rose. Just as they make them, we can unmake them, one by one.


A Day With  Barkley Hendricks

Followed By
A Day With Barkley Hendricks

19 min
Q&A With Director: Paul Ewen
In 1967, my grandfather bought TWO by Barkley Hendricks. Barkley Hendricks is considered one of the great painters of the mid-to-late 20th century. At the time of this art purchase he was a student at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. The painting was a huge influence win me while I was growing up and mentaller the world to me. About forty years later I emailed Professor Hendricks and we started a correspondence.

One day I brought a camera crew to his house, asked him questions and was blown away by his house and what was inside. He mentioned to me, that day, that TWO was the first work that he felt he had fully completed.

For anyone who is interested in hearing a great artist discuss his work, life and creativity this is a film that you should watch.

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The Light of Fire
8000 Paperclips

The Light of Fire

4:00pm - 6:00pm Oct 30


86 minute program

Directors: Dan Makara - Redding CT
Frank Borres - Bridgeport CT

30 min Q&A. (120 min block) followed by a Q&A with director of both films: Bentzi Avtzon

“The Light of Fire”


33 min.
After a sudden fire destroys his studio together with forty years of his work, American-Israeli artist, Yoram Raanan, begins painting again. But as startling images he's never painted before emerge from the work, he and his family begin to realize how different everything has become.

8000 Paperclips

8000 Paperclips


60 min
When Israeli artist and TED Fellow, Raffael Lomas turned 50, he knew he wanted his new work to have meaning. So when he learned about a group of South Sudanese children who had been raised in Israel and were then deported to South Sudan, he jumped at the chance to go make art with them and “see what would happen.”

What happened was that over the course of several days during the summer vacation of 2014, Raffael and the students built a house made out of 8000 paper clips – 8000 points of connection - symbolizing the meaning of home. But he also learned the children’s complex stories and heard tales of their arduous journeys – escaping the horrors of war, fleeing militias, crossing borders under fire. The connections he forged with them would mark the beginning of a longer quest to make the “project count.”

Feeling that the children’s deportation was still an open wound, Raffael brought the house sculpture back to Israel to afford the children a way to look back and connect to those they had left behind. With an exhibition of the sculpture in Tel Aviv and a skype call, the children are able to traverse space and time and connect to the people who had once been part of their home.

That event led to more connections – and Raffael begins to think about how to forge a connection between the Abayudaya, the Jewish community of Uganda, and the South Sudanese refugees who are Christians but once lived in Israel and speak Hebrew. If the refugee students can teach the Jewish children Hebrew, then perhaps they can earn a living? And what else can an art object do for the children? Raffael travels back to Kampala to take the South Sudanese students to meet the Abayudaya and sends the house off on a journey to meet the art world. As the sculpture travels, maybe it can accrue more meaning , create awareness about the plight of refugees, and make their humanity tangible. Maybe it will even sell and imagine what that money could do for the kids!

In a complex and layered story, 8000 Paper Clips explores the value of art, Raffael’s own history with depression and struggle, and what humans need – no matter their national status. It follows a group of extraordinary young people as they overcome adversity and build hope for their future – with the support of a team of people whose hearts they have touched.

When resources are limited and the need is great – what is the real value of art? No matter how much Raffael tortures himself with that question, ultimately it is the children who are best able to answer it.

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Featured Film This week:

The Light Of Fire
Summer Spent

7:00pm Nov 6


86 minute program

Q&A With Director & Photographer: Stephen DiRado

Directed by Soren Sorensen

With Dad is a short nonfiction film that documents the work of photographer Stephen DiRado, specifically during the period of his father’s mental decline and eventual death from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2009. The film includes interview footage of DiRado, footage of DiRado handling prints of his work, high-resolution digital scans of DiRado's work and contemporaneous digital video footage, shot by Stephen's brother, Chris.

Summer Spent

Summer Spent
The film is a 2012, 40 minute documentary depicting DiRado's obsessive, work discipline and artist life connected to numerous people on the island of Martha's Vineyard for over 25 years. Most of the filming takes place in the town of Aquinnah, MA

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