LOWER EAST SIDE — The Lower East Side Film Festival announced its movie line-up on Monday, including an opening night film that plumbs the lonely New Yorker’s worst fear.
The festival opens on June 13 with "How To Follow Strangers," a feature film that explores a single New Yorker's nightmare — that no will notice when we die. In the film, a young man obsessed with the story of a woman who rotted for a year in her apartment before anyone realized she was gone decides to disappear himself, testing the world to note his absence. Hearteningly, one person, a fellow commuter, does notice — even better, she decides to find out what happened to him.
Other films in the festival’s roster also offer a rich cross-section of New York, in all its strange mix of serious dysfunction and otherworldly wonder.
One film, "Adama," tells the story of a 16-year-old Muslim girl in East Harlem who was held for six weeks as a suspected suicide bomber. Another, "The History of Future Folk," introduces us to reformed, musically-talented aliens who cancel their plans for world domination to start a bluegrass band and fall in love.
While many of the scheduled films take place in New York, other movies venture across oceans to bring back stories. "Recycling of Souls" takes us to Warsaw, where a recycling plant offers jobs to the mentally ill, and "The Needle" invites us into a cosmetic clinic in Puerto Rico. Some films skip the planet altogether. "Move Mountain" follows a girl as she bravely journeys through a not-quite-earthly landscape.
This year's judging panel will include director Rebecca Miller and comedian Judah Friedlander, as well as Academy Award nominees Dan Janvey, Travis Knight, and David France and producers Lars Knudsen and Jay VanHoy. Judges will also include Emmy Winner Jerry Kupfer, Bladimiar Norman of The Weinstein Company, Jason Janego of TWC Radius, documentary filmmaker Mark Becker, cinematographer Clyde E. Bryan and the Djing creative duo AndrewAndrew.
The Lower East Side Film Festival opens on Saturday, May 25th with a preview party at Katra Lounge. Film screenings begin on Thursday, June 13 at Sunshine Cinema and run until June 23. Tickets are $12 online and $15 at the door. For more information visit http://www.lesfilmfestival.com.