EVENT, SCREENING, SCREENING + INTRO
Fremont + Away
Wednesday, Mar 15, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Location: Redstone Theater
Fremont director Babak Jalali and star Anaita Wali Zada and Away director Ruslan Fedotov in person
Dir. Babak Jalali. U.S. 2023, 91 mins. With Anaita Wali Zada, Jeremy Allen White, Gregg Turkington, Hilda Schmelling, Avis See-tho, Siddique Ahmed. Lying alone in her small apartment in the Bay area town of Fremont, California, Donya (newcomer Wali Zada) can’t sleep. Joanna (Schmelling), with whom she works in a fortune cookie factory in San Francisco, thinks the newly immigrated twentysomething is lonely for love, while her pro bono psychiatrist (Turkington) clumsily teases out potential explanations like Donya’s past work as a translator for the U.S. government. Meanwhile at her housing complex, which is populated by fellow Afghan refugees, her insomnia is hardly unusual. Filmed in black-and-white and unfolding in highly composed, often rhyming static shots, Jalali’s Sundance standout evokes early Jim Jarmusch, late Arturo Ripstein, and the rhythmic, paneled progression of graphic novels, yet it has an exquisitely modulated tone all its own: somewhere between deadpan comedy and offhand sorrow. Jalali emphasizes the seemingly minor interactions that provide significant connections (every character, big or small, is contoured), and lets Donya command our attention without any cutesy affectations; her scarce smiles are earned. Fremont is a quietly radical tale of an outsider who’s both alone and at home among outsiders. New York premiere
Dir. Ruslan Fedotov. Hungary/Portugal/Belgium. 2022, 29 mins. In English, Ukrainian, and Hungarian with English subtitles. Andrey and Alisa are 16-year-old refugees living in Budapest. Together they look after fellow refugee children who are preoccupied by what they’ve witnessed and what’s going on back home, make protest art in a public park that elicits both pro-Ukrainian support and pro-Russian rancor, and struggle to adapt to what’s become and what’s to come. Belorussian director Fedotow (Where Are We Headed?) has an unparalleled knack for turning his observational vantage into insightful, emotional storytelling, and Away resonates well beyond its concise frame. Recipient of the IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary. New York premiere
About the Filmmakers:
Babak Jalali is a BAFTA-nominated Iranian filmmaker based in London. His debut film, Frontier Blues, was developed at the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence and premiered at Locarno in 2009. His second film, Radio Dreams, won the Tiger Award at Rotterdam in 2016 and his third feature, Land, premiered at Berlin 2018.
Ruslan Fedotov is a director, producer, and cinematographer from Belarus. His first short documentary, Salamanca (2015), and first feature documentary, Where are we headed? (2021), premiered at IDFA. The latter won the IDFA Best First Feature and Best Cinematography awards and DocPoint’s International Competition. The film screened at True/False, MoMA Doc Fortnight, Camerimage, Artdocfest, Hong Kong, and others.