Film Screening: Rob Harmon hosts Secret Cinema Mon., Jan. 13, at 8 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center staffer Rob Harmon hosts a semi-regular cult film series under the rubric “Secret Cinema.” The next Secret Cinema takes place Monday, Jan. 13, at 8 PM. Along with the night’s movie, Rob shows relevant film trailers and cranks up the Best Video popcorn machine for cinema-appropriate snacking.​

Secret Cinema is free but donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center and its programming are always welcome. For more info and the name of the film, email Rob at secretcinemact@gmail.com or call at (203) 287-9286.

Film Screening: Hamden Tree Commission presents “Call of the Forest” Sun., Jan. 12, at 3 PM

The Hamden Tree Commission and the Town of Hamden present a screening of “Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. The screening is at 3 PM and is free and open to the public.

Take a walk in the woods with beloved Irish-Canadian scientist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, as she reveals our profound human connection to the ancient & sacred northern forests and the essential role that they play in sustaining the health of our planet.

We cut down billions of trees every year – Today only five percent of the world’s old growth forests remain intact. Yet trees are one of this planet’s most significant creators of food, new medicines, and oxygen. Forests hold the answer to many of the world’s problems; from climate change to human health and well-being. Visionary scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger explores the science, folklore, and history of this essential eco-system reminding us that when we improve our profound human connection to woodlands we can, not only, restore our health – we can restore our planet.

From the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan, the ancient Raheen Wood of Ireland, and the walnut and redwood trees of America, to the great boreal forest of Canada, Call of the Forest tells the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

Along the way Diana meets people who are taking the lead to replant, restore and protect the last of these great ancient species forests. We meet Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a worldwide specialist in the restoration of natural forest systems on degraded land, who shows us how a native forest system can be planted in the smallest street corner of Tokyo. Dr. Bill Libby, a pioneer in the field of forest tree genetics, tells us about the impacts of climate change on California’s coast redwood and giant sequoia. Since 2002 Andrew St. Ledger, founder of The Woodland League in Ireland, has dedicated his life to restoring native woodlands in Ireland. His work restoring the great forest of Aughty shows us all how old growth forests can be replanted and offers a glimpse into our cultural history with trees.

Woodlands are the beating heart of our ecosystem and Diana’s call to action – to protect the native forests of the world and for every person to plant one tree a year for the next six years – provides us with a simple and powerful solution for climate change. As she travels across the globe to tell the story of the life and the science of the global forest, she presents us with a revolutionary conception of their value to all life and a message that could, literally, save mankind from itself.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film Screening and Q&A: Stephen Dest’s “I Am Shakespeare: The Henry Green Story” Mon., Nov. 11, at 7 PM

Filmmaker Stephen Dest screens his documentary “I Am Shakespeare: The Henry Green Story” at Best Video Performance Space on Monday, Nov. 11, at 7 PM. Admission is $7.

Join us for a viewing of one of the most talked about documentaries of the year. Filmmaker, Stephen Dest will have just returned from New Orleans where he screened the film at the 2019 Grantmakers for Education Conference. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say as he continues his journey to bring Henry’s incredible story to a schools nationwide.

Stephen Dest’s documentary “I AM SHAKESPEARE: The Henry Green Story” chronicles the true life story of 19 year old, Henry Green, living a dual life as a brilliant young actor and inner-city gang member, who was brutally shot and left for dead just shortly after his inspiring performance in Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” and his remarkable (less than 1% chance of survival) recovery/intestinal transplant received by a 13 year old boy (Jack) who was killed in a car accident on the other side of the country but who still managed to save Henry’s life.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film screening: “The Village,” about Wooster Square Italian community, screens Tues., May 7, at 7:30 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center screens “The Village: Life in New Haven’s Little Italy” on Tuesday, May 7. The screening starts at 7:30 PM and admission is $7.

“The Village: Life in New Haven’s Little Italy,” tells the story of the city’s Wooster Square neighborhood, which for many years was a tight-knit Italian-American enclave. Using oral history interviews, photos from family albums, and historic films and photographs, the documentary explores the power of ethnic identity and reaffirms the importance of immigration to American society.

Today, few descendants of the immigrants still live in Wooster Square, but vestiges of their community remain—in the church, the ethnic societies and their festas, and the pizza joints and pastry shops. Most vividly, the village lives on in the fond memories of the people who grew up there.

“The Village,” directed by Steve Hamm, has been playing to packed houses in the greater New Haven area. Hamm, film editor Scott Amore and longtime Wooster Square resident Frank Carrano—who is featured in the film—will be on hand for a discussion after the one-hour showing.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film screening: Hamden Land Conservation Trust presents “Journey of the Universe” Tues., Apr. 2, at 6:30 PM

Join the Hamden Land Conservation Trust on Tuesday, Apr. 2, at 6:30 pm at Best Video located at 1842 Whitney Avenue for a viewing of the film “Journey of the Universe,” a remarkable film that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, and biology with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.

Yale professors and producers of the film Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will offer their insights afterward. Viewers are sure to walk away moved and inspired.

“Journey of the Universe” narrates the 14-billion year story of the universe’s development, from the great flaring forth at the universe’s inception to the emergence of simple molecules and atoms to the evolution of galaxies, stars, solar systems, and planetary life of greater complexity and consciousness. This is a story that inspires wonder as we begin to understand such complexity through science and appreciate such beauty through poetry, art, history, religion, and philosophy. It also awakens us to the dynamic processes of evolution that are chaotic and destructive, as well as creative and life-generating.

The film is narrated by evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme, and was produced by Yale historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker and her husband, John Grim. Tucker and Grim teach in a joint master’s program in religion and ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES) and Yale Divinity School, where they also direct the Forum on Religion and Ecology.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film screening: “Garden in Film” series concludes with “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2016) Sun., Mar. 10, at 3 PM

The “Garden in Film” series—conceived by Best Video Film & Cultural Center member and former manager of Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale Eric Larson—concludes on Sunday, Mar. 10, with a screening of the 2016 movie “This Beautiful Fantastic.” Previous movies in the series were “A Little Chaos” and “Saving Grace” (2000). The screening starts at 3 PM and admission is $7.

In “This Beautiful Fantastic,” a young librarian (played by Jessica Brown Findlay), who is trying to write a children’s book, is forced to rehabilitate the garden in back of her flat by the absentee landlord, thus confronting her aversion to plants. among the relevant themes are gardening as source and agent for transformation, the garden as refuge, and garden as connection between very different people.

In his New York Times review of the movie, Neil Genzlinger wrote:

With spring imminent, backyard putterers are turning their thoughts to the garden, which makes “This Beautiful Fantastic,” a charming tale about one, all that much sweeter.

Gardens, of course, must be cultivated, and thus they are rich allegorical territory for storytellers of all sorts. Simon Aboud, the writer and director here, works some obvious parallels as he tells the story of a timid young woman, her cranky old neighbor and the garden that separates them, but enjoyable performances keep the tale from becoming too heavy-handed.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Film screening: “Garden in Film” series continues with “Saving Grace” (2000) Sun., Feb. 24, at 4 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center and master gardener Eric Larson (formerly head of Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale) presents “Garden In Film,” a series of three garden-themed movies, starting on Sunday, Feb. 10, and continuing on alternate Sundays (Feb. 24 and Mar. 10). The series planted the seed on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 PM with 2014’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet. Seedlings break the earth on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4 PM with “Saving Grace” from 2000, starring Brenda Blethyn. The final harvest occurs on Sunday, Mar. 10, at 3 PM with the screening of “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2016), starring Mia Farkasovska. Admission for each screening is $7.

Set in Cornwall, England, “Saving Grace” pits a recently widowed but pugnacious survivor (played by Brenda Blethyn) against the debt collectors and official property appraisers who are circling for payment. She figures out the best path forward is to begin cultivating cannabis for sale. This film touches on the realities of excessive debt, the limits and strengths of friendship and on one woman’s ability to land on her feet in difficult circumstances.

In his 2000 New York Times review, critic A.O. Scott described “Saving Grace” as “[trying] to do for marijuana-dealing what ”The Full Monty” did for male striptease.” It was, he wrote, “this summer’s bait for the Anglophiles who keep shows like ‘Mr. Bean’ and ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ running on public television. Though it might be described as a BBC sitcom as imagined by Cheech and Chong, ‘Saving Grace,’ directed by Nigel Cole, springs from the imagination of Craig Ferguson.”

Remaining schedule:

Sun., Feb. 24, 4 PM: “Saving Grace”
Sun., Mar. 10, 3 PM: “This Beautiful Fantastic”

Film screening: “A Little Chaos” launches 3-film “Garden In Film” garden-themed series Sun., Feb. 10, at 3 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center and master gardener Eric Larson (formerly head of Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale) presents “Garden In Film,” a series of three garden-themed movies, starting on Sunday, Feb. 10, and continuing on alternate Sundays (Feb. 24 and Mar. 10). The series plants the seed on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 PM with 2014’s “A Little Chaos,” starring Kate Winslet. Seedlings break the earth on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4 PM with “Saving Grace” from 2000, starring Brenda Blethyn. The final harvest occurs on Sunday, Mar. 10, at 3 PM with the screening of “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2016), starring Mia Farkasovska. Admission for each screening is $7.

“A Little Chaos,” Alan Rickman’s last film, will be shown on Feb. 10 at 3 PM. This is a fictional account of the design of Versailles with Kate Winslet as a garden designer hired by Andre Le Notre (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) to design one part of this great garden. With Alan Rickman as Louis XIV, this historical drama also features Stanley Tucci as the Sun King’s brother, Duc Philippe D’Orleans. Two varieties of frozen dessert will be served to attendees, with ingredients related to the film.

Francesco Casetti, Thomas A. Donnelly Professor of Film Studies at Yale University, will introduce the movie.

Schedule:

Sun., Feb. 10, 3 PM: “A Little Chaos” (2014)
Sun., Feb. 24, 4 PM: “Saving Grave” (2000)
Sun., Mar. 10, 3 PM: “This Beautiful Fantastic” (2016)

Film screening: NHDocs: New Haven Documentary Film Festival and BVFCC present Lindsay Thompson’s “Travel Light” Mon., Jan. 28, 7 PM, with award-winning student short by T.J. Noel-Sullivan

NHdocs: New Haven Documentary Film Festival and Best Video Film & Cultural Center present a screening of the film “Travel Light” by local documentarian Lindsay Thompson on Monday, Jan. 28. The event starts at 7 PM and a suggested donation of $5 is requested. Thompson will be available for a Q&A after the screening of the the film. “Travel Light” will be proceeded by a screening of the short film “Seeking Sanctuary.”

In “Travel Light,” a small team of young American filmmakers backpack 500 miles across Spain’s Camino de Santiago, attempting to capture not only their own experience, but also the intimate stories of the pilgrims who journey from all over the world to seek truth on the Camino.

Director Lindsay Thompson—who will be on hand for a Q&A after the film—grew up in various cities across the East Coast. This taught her two things at a young age: that she loved to explore new places, and that nothing creates new friendships quite like being able to tell a good story.

Lindsay attended UNC School of the Arts, where she studied Film Directing under Peter Bogdanovich and became fast friends with her fellow conspirators on this film. She graduated with honors in 2012.

In addition to creating Travel Light, Lindsay pioneered the film program at The Arts Based School, where middle school students engage with filmmaking in their regular academic courses. The range of her students’ projects have included everything from avant-garde shorts adapted from classic poems to documentaries on Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and other key figures in the NC public school curriculum.

In addition, “Seeking Sanctuary,” the first place student film from the 2018 NHDocs: New Haven Documentary Film Festival will be screened prior to “Travel Light.” This short film by filmmaker T.J. Noel-Sullivan follows the story of Marco Reyes, an undocumented immigrant who took sanctuary in a church in New Haven.

Film screening: “Regarding Gravity,” with post-film talk and music by score composer Shawn Persinger Tues., Nov. 13, at 7:30 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center presents a very special screening of “Regarding Gravity,” followed by a talk (and a little guitar playing) from Shawn Persinger, the soundtrack composer and performer. Admission is $7 and it starts at 7:30 PM.

If you missed the U.S. Premier at NHdocs: The New Haven Documentary Film Festival here’s your second chance!

“Regarding Gravity” is a feature-length documentary film produced, filmed, written and directed by Matthieu Brouillard. Friends Christian, 63, and Bruce, 71, each have their burden to bear: Christian suffers from a genetic condition that severely impairs his vision and makes his skin hypersensitive to sunlight, while Bruce is hard of hearing and bipolar. But both men share a dream: to fly, to defy gravity, to rise up against the limitations of their bodies. As a very thorough and rational person, Christian has mastered the techniques of paragliding, and, after years of struggle, he has been given permission to fly on his own. He is now persuading the more erratic and turbulent Bruce to do the same and follow him all the way to Mont Blanc. An intimate and unsettling portrait of two non-conforming individuals, this “direct cinema” piece with tragicomic and Beckettian undertones takes us on a journey into the luminous heights and the dark intricacies of the human psyche.

Matthieu Brouillard is a visual artist who was born in Montreal. Since 2003, he has been creating photographic works and video installations that reinvest certain stylistic traits from mythology (Icarus) and the pictorial tradition (Grünewald and Goya, baroque and mannerism), and that combine documentary and mise en scène. His work reflects his interest in the human figure, mostly masculine, which he frequently depicts under constraint and in clear deviation from certain aesthetic and social norms. Shot over a period of two years, REGARDING GRAVITY is Brouillard’s first film. He is currently developing an experimental documentary project as well as a docu-fiction adapted from a short-story by Québécois novelist Gaétan Soucy.

With a unique blend of acoustic folk, jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, humor, and the avant-garde, Shawn Persinger has a sound that is entirely his own.  The Chicago Tribune once said of Persinger (who has performed under the name “Shawn Persinger is Prester John”), “Prester John has made a career out of balancing technical prowess with pop accessibility (and) a dash of punk-rock rawness.” One minute you’re hearing a pop/rock song in the tradition of Cat Stevens or Jack Johnson, the next you’re listening to music that could have been composed by Stravinsky or Frank Zappa. When it comes to traditional and mainstream styles Prester John’s authenticity is also difficult to match; their bluegrass repertoire sounds straight out of Appalachia (no doubt due to Persinger’s West Virginia roots) and their swing tunes recall the bygone days of The Hot Club of France. The ease and flexibility they display traversing and transcending genres is practically unheard of in this day and age (if ever).”

UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):

• Wednesday, Nov. 7. IMPROVISATION: WEST STREET TRIO, FUCHSPRELLEN

• Thursday, Nov. 8. CLASSICAL GUITAR: MAX STEINHOFF

• Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: KENNY & AMANDA SMITH (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, Nov. 10, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: THE ANGRY O’HARAS; FIDDLE/FX: GEORGIA RAE

• Sunday, Nov. 11, 1 PM. PROF. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—A QUARTET OF NOIR (“THE THIRD MAN,” 1949)

• Monday, Nov. 12. FILM SCREENING: NH DOCS—THE NEW HAVEN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL & BVFCC PRESENT “PLAYING SOLDIER” with director ED GENDRON

• Tuesday, Nov. 13, 7 PM. FILM SCREENING: “REGARDING GRAVITY” (PRESENTED & WITH MUSIC BY SHAWN PERSINGER)

• Saturday, Nov. 10. BLUEGRASS: GEORGIA RAE, THE ANGRY O’HARAS

• Wednesday, Nov. 14, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC

• Thursday, Nov. 15. SOLO AMBIENT PSYCH/INDIE ROCK: THE FOREST ROOM, BEN HECHT, EVELYN FLYNN GRAY

• Friday, Nov. 16. BLUES/ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: JOE MILLER & THE HIPSHAKERS

• Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 AM-10 PM. BVFCC ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION & FUNDRAISING EXTRAVAGANZA

• Sunday, Nov. 18, 1 PM. PROF. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—A QUARTET OF NOIR (“A TOUCH OF EVIL,” 1958)

• Tuesday, Nov. 20, 8 PM. COMEDY: REEL LIFE—A STAND-UP SHOW with HOST KENDRA DAWSEY

• Friday, Nov. 23, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: DAVID PETERSON (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, Nov. 24. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS

• Wednesday, Nov. 28. INDIE FOLK: CLARA ENGEL; ART SONG: AN HISTORIC

• Thursday, Nov. 29. JCC PRESENTS “SIMPSONS” WRITER MIKE REISS, author of “SPRINGFIELD CONFIDENTIAL”

• Friday, Nov. 30, 8 PM. BLUEGRASS/AMERICANA: RIVER RUN

• Saturday, Dec. 1. BLUES/JUG BAND MUSIC: WASHBOARD SLIM & THE BLUE LIGHTS

• Monday, Dec. 3, 7:30 PM. TRIVIA 237—A BEST VIDEO MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT

• Wednesday, Dec. 5. BLUES: CODA BLUE

• Thursday, Dec. 6, 7:30 PM. SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: FRANK CRITELLI, RICHARD NEAL, BOB CSUGIE, MARK MIRANDO

• Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: HONEY DEWDROPS (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, Dec. 8. INDIE ROCK: AUDIO JANE, THE SAWTELLES

• Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC

• Thursday, Dec. 13. GYPSY JAZZ: DJANGO’S RESERVE

• Friday, Dec. 14. BRAZILIAN JAZZ: SAMBELEZA

• Monday, Dec. 17. ONE MAN SHOW: SAL ANNUNZIATO—PART OF THE FAMILY: A MOB CHILDHOOD

• Tuesday, Dec. 18, 8 PM. COMEDY: REEL LIFE—A STAND-UP SHOW with HOST KENDRA DAWSEY

• Friday, Dec. 21, 7:30 PM. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CHRISTMAS SHOW: DUST HAT, BRONSON ROCK

• Thursday, Dec. 27. INDIE ROCK: NO IDEA, BONSAI TREES

• Friday, Dec. 28. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: MATT BENNETT, QUINN LINDSAY

• Saturday, Jan. 5, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: NATA SABAT/MARK KILIANSKI DUO; DAVID SASSO/KAT WALLACE DUO (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Friday, Jan. 4. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: THE SPARKOMATICS, TOM HEARN

• Tuesday, Jan. 8, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: THE ELM CITY RAMBLERS

• Friday, Jan. 11. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: ANNE MARIE MENTA, SHELLYE VALAUSKAS, LYS GUILLORN

• Monday, Jan. 14. ONE MAN SHOW: SAL ANNUNZIATO—PART OF THE FAMILY: A MOB CHILDHOOD

• EWednesday, Jan. 16. POP/ROCK: YOUTH XL, ROB NELSON

• Thursday, Feb. 7. INDIE FOLK: PODUNK THROWBACKS; Klezmer: KLEZMER FUSION COLLECTIVE

• Saturday, Mar. 2. INDIE POP ROCK: THE SHELLYE VALAUSKAS EXPERIENCE