ROOM H.264: Quarantine, April 2020
Apr 19 — May 3, 2020
Online release of film, and live discussion with filmmakers Eric Hynes, Jeff Reichert, Damon Smith
“Hello, Filmmakers: We hope you are well and coping the best you can in whatever state of quarantine you’re experiencing in this very strange moment.”
In response to the cancellation of film festivals around the world and disruption in the lives and work of filmmakers, Eric Hynes, Damon Smith, and Jeff Reichert filmed and edited the documentary ROOM H.264: Quarantine, April 2020 over the course of the last two weeks. Shot via Skype, it features those whose work was slated to screen at festivals like SXSW, CPH:DOX, Tribeca, First Look, and more. The documentary depicts a broad range of filmmakers, each sequestered in their own spaces in locations throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and beyond, responding to a question first posed by Wim Wenders in his classic 1982 documentary experiment Room 666, and perhaps newly resonant today: “Is cinema becoming a dead language—an art form which is already in decline?”
The following international filmmakers, including several who were slated to premiere their films at MoMI’s 2020 First Look Festival, before the Museum closed, participated in the project: Yung Chang, Zeshawn Ali, Maya Daisy Hawke, Bill Ross, Turner Ross, Lisa Rovner, Pia Hellenthal and Rahul Jain, Todd Chandler, Anna Eborn, Michael Andrianaly, Lauren Domino, Jiayan “Jenny” Shi, Steve James, Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri, Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Cecilia Aldarondo, John Skoog, Courtney Stephens, Elizabeth Lo, Bo McGuire, and Hubert Sauper. The resulting film is a poetic, melancholy ode to cinema and creation in a moment when both have been drastically affected by the ongoing pandemic.
Then, join a live discussion with filmmakers Eric Hynes, Jeff Reichert, and Damon Smith on Sunday, April 19, at 8:00 P.M. EDT RSVP here. The event is free with a suggested donation of $10.
While this event is free, we hope you will consider supporting the Museum with a donation. MoMI’s staff is working hard to fulfill its mission via remote programming. This comes with opportunities to experiment but also profound challenges. Your support is critical to ensure our work remains vital and visible to a broad public. Suggested donation: $10. Donate here.
About ROOM H.264 project:
ROOM H.264: Quarantine, April 2020 is the fourth chapter in an ongoing 21st-century update on Wim Wenders’s feature-length documentary Room 666. In Room 666, Wenders invited filmmakers attending the Cannes Film Festival in 1982 into a hotel room for ten minutes to answer a single question related to the future of cinema. Hynes, Reichert, and Smith have been revisiting the concept and spirit of Wenders’s project since 2016, with the participation of filmmakers such as Kirsten Johnson, Robert Greene, Bing Liu, Julia Reichert, Brett Story, Feras Fayyad, Ashley Connor, Nanfu Wang, and many others. To date, well over 70 contemporary filmmakers have participated in the ROOM H.264 project.
The first and second phases—the curious, exploratory initial experiment, ROOM H.264: Brooklyn, NY, June 2016, and the more abstract, cerebral, ROOM H.264: Astoria, NY, January 2018 —premiered at First Look 2018. The freewheeling third iteration, ROOM H.264: Columbia, MO, March 2019, premiered at last year’s True/False Film Fest. ROOM H.264 was also a gallery installation at MoMI in 2019.