This year’s BAMcinemaFest showcased, among other things, many of the best independent filmmakers currently emerging from young Brooklyn; late in June, as the festival was winding down on its last weekend, a number of the filmmakers featured in the festival were already looking ahead to their next movies.
Sophia Takal and Lawrence Michael Levine, who are engaged, live and work together in Greenpoint. He directed her in the spot-on anthropological gag reel Gabi on the Roof in July, the highlight of last year’s Brooklyn Film Festival, and she directed him in the three-hander relationship study Green, which won an award at this year’s SXSW.
They’re now preparing to embark on their third feature together: a script is in place, and now their production company, Little Teeth Pictures, needs some money. So, last month, both sent out an email invite: “F*** Kickstarter, We’re Having a Party,” was the subject line, the better to pass through your spam filters, presumably.
The party was held on a Saturday night, at Sophia Takal’s dad’s office. (Her sister was manning the door when we came in, and talking to their mother; Lawrence Levine’s brother was taking photos for posterity.) The makeshift bar looked to be set up in the secretary’s well; the dance floor was the lobby, with all the furniture presumably hidden in the offices; the dancing picked up as the evening wore on, and the DJ (a friend of the filmmakers’) mixed in more 90s Bar Mitzvah floorfillers. There were, inevitably, indie filmmakers frequently sent out on ice runs. On the wall, a flatscreen TV played old episodes of Columbo.
In a room off to the side, the raffle prizes were laid out in their splendor: a basket of chard and radishes from the Queens County Farm Museum; CDs from Mexican Summer; DVDs from Masters of Cinema and Cinetic/FilmBuff; and DVDs and vinyl from Factory 25.
The room was a little quieter, a good place to duck into if you were hoping to have a conversation with someone—it was where I got to ask Alex Ross Perry how his film The Color Wheel went over at BAM the weekend before. (Well, apparently; he also told me he mostly made fun of the audience during the Q&A.)
Green had its official NYC premiere at BAM earlier in the week, in front of a packed house—for her first big New York audience Q&A session, Takal said, someone asked her about class relations among her characters, and another asked how old the dog in the movie was.
The new movie, to be directed by Levine, is called Bingo & The Belle. It’s a road-trip comedy “with that Larry Levine touch,” said Takal. “Whatever that means,” said Levine. The script calls for a drive from NYC to California via the South; they plan to shoot late this year or early next, and how much of America they’re able to roll through depends largely on the money they’re able to raise, at events like these and perhaps elsewhere. Stay tuned.