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Exclusive preview of the 'New Directors/New Films Festival'

We spoke with Directors (L-R) Jessica Orek, Benjamin Naishtat, Dustin Defa & Alejandro Fernandez about the new films screening at ND/NF Festival.
We spoke with Directors (L-R) Jessica Orek, Benjamin Naishtat, Dustin Defa & Alejandro Fernandez about the new films screening at ND/NF Festival.
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Today on March 22, is excited to share our exclusive preview of a few films which will be premiere at the New Directors/New Films Festival this week. The festival runs until March 30,

Argentinian filmmaker Benjamin Naishtat wrote and directed "History of Fear," which will screening tomorrow on Mar 23 at 9:15PM at Walter Reade Theater.

Tell me about your film.

The film is from Argentina. It’s called “History of Fear” and it’s about social and paranoia in Buenos Aires – that it could pretty much happen in any large Latin American city. It’s pretty much told as a horror film.

What is the source of the paranoia?

In regards to what is this social breakout in Argentina. For instance, the difference between haves and have-nots, that kind of paranoia.

Classism and inequality?

Class struggle.

What inspired you to write it?

It’s very personal to live in a country with a great deal of injustice. It becomes a personal matter so that’s what inspired me.

How did you get your start in filmmaking?

Well, since age 11 I was offered a video camera and ever since I haven’t stopped. I was really into film from a young age.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully I’ll do a second film if this one is not too much of a disaster.

The short film "Person to Person" was directed by Dustin Guy Defa. It will be screening tomorrow March 23 and March 24 with the feature "Buzzard."

Tell me about your film.

My film is called “Person to Person.” It’s about a man who finds a young woman passed out on his floor after he has a party and he tries to get rid of her. She won’t leave his house and he spends the day trying to get rid of her so he can go work.

Is it a comedy?

It’s mostly a comedy. There’s some sad stuff and it does get serious but for the most part it’s funny.

How did you come to make the project?

I’ve been trying to make a movie with my old roommate Benny for a very long time. He plays the lead in the film. So I finally figured out how to make a movie with him and he’s the inspiration for making the movie.

How did you get your start as a filmmaker?

I’ve been making movies since I was a kid. But the moment I started making movies with people I know, working with a cast and crew of people that I know, the better I did and that’s where I felt I really started making movies.

What’s next for you?

I’m writing a feature right now.

Documentary "The Vanquishing Of The Witch Baba Yaga" directed by Jessica Oreck will screen on Monday, March 24 in the festival. Check out what Jessica told us about her film.

Tell us about your film?

It’s about the way folklore affects our ideas of the wilderness, specifically the forest in Eastern Europe. But it’s about memory and war and history and human nature and all of the sort of classic tropes of filmmaking, I suppose.

So what inspired you to make this film?

My ideas just sort of come to me like a tooth fairy mused swooped in in the middle of the night and planted that seed in my head and I woke up and I had to make it. That’s sort of the way it’s been.

Are you from Europe?

My family is from Eastern Europe, yeah.

And you went to shoot there?


What was that process like?

It was amazing actually. To me, production was a lot of just stumbling into weddings and hanging out at local pubs and just following people that we think are interesting and getting to experience a new culture in a really intimate way so it was an adventure, always and amazing.

How excited are you to be here showing your film at this festival?

I am so over the moon. I’m just so excited to be here. I really can’t express how I feel.

Do you hope to stay in documentaries or do you hope to do features? What are your ultimate goals as a new director?

I really love documentaries. I wouldn’t mind dabbling in narrative, but education is a really big part of it for me so I love to be able to impart something, even if it’s just a little bit of wonder.

Chilean Director Alejandro Fernandez will be screening his film "To Kill A Man" tomorrow at MoMA. Check out what he told us about the project.

Tell me about your film?

"To Kill a Man" is based on a true story about a regular guy who is pushed by circumstances to commit a crime and the consequences that crime throughout his life.

How did you get involved with the project?

It was something I saw on TV ... From the very beginning I wanted to do something with it ... I found a location and found the story and started working on it. It took me around four years to make it, but in the meantime I made another film, but it's always like this with film it takes a long time.

How did you get your start as a filmmaker?

I'm a journalist by profession and I moved to New York from Chile in 1998. I worked as a journalist for 15 years and while I was in New York I started taking some filmmaking lessons because I always loved film. Then I took out some aid and I made my first feature film in Chile. I began my filmmaking by just watching films at festivals like this.

Are you still doing journalism, too?

No, not anymore. There's not enough time.

So what's next for you?

I'm working on three or four different projects and you never know which one is going to come out first. I have a couple of screenplays ready and waiting for financing, which is always the hard part.

Who finances your films?

It comes from Chile, we have national funds for the arts and it's a little bit complex, but in the end it works out.

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