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MoMA Hosts Gotham Award Nominees

In anticipation of the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the first significant awards show of the season that has been dubbed the "indie Oscars", the Film Department of the Museum of Modern Art will again host public screenings of the five indie nominees in the awards category Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You.

As the title suggests, this category is devoted to films that have not yet been seen in theaters and may never find traditional theatrical distribution. The award is part of the initiative of the Awards sponsor organization, the IFP, one of the largest filmmaker organizations in the United States, to stimulate awareness of independent cinema. This is the fifith year that the IFP, the Film Department at MoMA and the publication Filmmaker Magazine have collaborated on the program.

The nominees were selected by senior members of the Filmmaker editorial staff and Joshua Siegel, associate curator in MoMA’s Department of Film. The five nominees represent this year’s best American independent films on the festival circuit that have yet to be picked up for theatrical distribution.

The screening series begins on November 18 with ON COAL RIVER, co-directed by Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood. In this gripping documentary, made in the tradition of Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, USA, a group of West Virginians fight a coal company whose toxic waste facility is poisoning their local elementary school.

Screening on Friday is THE WOLF KNIFE, the sophomore effort of photographer-turned-film-director Laurel Nakadate. In this highly original and beautifully visual film, a transient teenage girl flees the stifling confines of Florida to find her father in Nashville, with her best girlfriend in tow. Amid lurid settings and feverish lights, their encounters along the way are charged with a queasy, ominous eroticism. The director's previous film, STAY THE SAME NEVER CHANGE, was one of the sleeper hits of the 2009 New Directors/New Films program, also at the Museum of Modern Art. Also screening on Friday is the innovative documentary KATI WITH AN I, an intimate portrait of a young's girl final days in high school and her introduction into adulthhood, directed by Robert Greene.

The series concludes with the films SUMMER PASTURE (Lynn True, Nelson Walker and Tsering Perlo), a US/Tibet co-production that offers a stirring portrait of the harsh beauty of a remote area in Tibet and the nomadic family whose traditional culture has survived for thousands of years despite political and economic turmoil; and LITTLE ROCK, an arresting debut by director Mike Ott, in a tale of a Japanese brother and sister who make a pilgrimage to the California internment camps where thousands of Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II.

The winner in this category will be announced along with all the other winners at the 20th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on November 29. For more information on the series, visit:

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor


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