Stay in Western Queens and experience life in extremely remote areas — including music from those regions — this weekend.

The Rural Route Film Festival will unfold at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm in Long Island City from July 14 through July 16. With the theme “Singer-Songwriters (…in Suspense),” the festivities will include 14 screenings, live music, and appearances by filmmakers. Tickets are $15.

True to the theme, each movie contains live performances of original and traditional songs and some surprising twists. As a special treat, Astoria resident Sean Hartofilis will debut and discuss “Covadonga” on Saturday, July 15, at the museum in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District. At 1:30 p.m., Hartofilis — the lead actor who also directed, edited, and performed live music for this film — will play Irish folk music and participate in a Q&A session. At 2 p.m., his latest work, which tells the story of a widower with a dark past who gets involved in a search for a missing girl, will screen.

The day will end with “Nashville” at 4 p.m. Directed by Robert Altman, this 1975 feature bounces back and forth with 24 stories of musicians, songwriters, managers, third party politicians, fans, and wannabes over five days in Music City, U.S.A.

On Sunday, July 16, Australian singer/songwriter Desmond White will open the ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. with a sneak preview of his second album, “Glace,” which mixes jazz, pop, and folk. Then “Olancho” will show at 2 p.m. This documentary follows a farmer from rural Honduras who also leads a band that plays narcocorrido music for the region’s drug lords. After a song angers a rival gang, he immigrates illegally to North Carolina. The directors, Chris Valdes and Theodore Griswold, will participate in a Q&A.

Then a special preview of “La Barracuda,” which won the Best of SXSW 2017, is set for 4 p.m. This slow-burn Texas thriller is about a mysterious woman who hitchhikes to Austin to meet her half-sister by way of their late country musician father. She won’t leave without getting revenge on the people who stole Daddy from her years ago.

Opening Night

Going backward in time to Friday, July 14, the festival will kick off at the Brooklyn Grange at 37-18 Northern Blvd. in LIC. Tickets are $20, and Shelley Thomas will sing Arabic songs accompanied by an oud player at 8 p.m. A polyglot who has worked with Yo-Yo Ma, she sings in more 15 languages, respecting each musical tradition while also adding her creativity to the mix. Then at 8:30 p.m., organizers will screen the following shorts:
  • “Plaid — Do Matter’” by Christopher Arcella (2016, 4 minutes, Prescott, AZ). Arcella wrote, directed, and animated this sci-fi accompaniment to the single by the British electronic music duo Do Matter.
  • “The Poacher” by Nicholas Jones (2016, 12 minutes, London, England). This documentary follows John as he hunts and forages in London for game and produce that is popular in the city’s trendy restaurants.
  • “Volcano Island” by Anna Katalin Lovrity (2017, 9 minutes, Budapest, Hungary). Mysterious natural laws set explosive forces in motion in this animated film, as a tigress is pursued on a dazzling island.
  • “UFO Days” by Quinn Else (2016, 9 minutes, Elmwood, WI). An enigmatic, strangely familiar man attends the annual UFO Days celebration in a small Wisconsin town.
  • “The Tale of Hillbelly” by Daren Rabinovitch, Isaiah Saxon, and Sean Hellfritsch (2016, 9 minutes, Los Angeles, CA). A man attempts to reach enlightenment through yoga, but his physical hunger drives him deeper into nature than he had wished.
  • “Kalb” by Franz Maria Quitt (2017, 7 minutes, Tyrol, Austria.) A young boy learns the ways of the farm from his grandfather and on his own.
  • “Hairat” by Jessica Beshir (2017, 6 minutes, Harar Jugol, Ethiopia). Elias Shagiz Adonay Tesfaye’s poetry accompanies a glimpse into the nightly rituals of “Hyena Man.”
  • “dragons & seraphim” by Sasha Waters Freyer (2017, 14 minutes, Sweden). This experimental work is described as such: “Ancient flowers and animal desire. The past rises up – a mirage, but I can’t bury it deep enough.”
  • “The Rabbit Hunt” by Patrick Bresnan (2017, 12 minutes, Pahokee, FL). Chris and his family set out for the largest industrial sugar farms in the Everglades, where rabbit hunting is a rite of passage, in this documentary which won Best Short at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Founded in 2003, the annual Rural Route Film Festival highlights unique people and cultures normally overlooked by the mainstream media.

Each photo is from the represented movie’s website, except the Nashville image, which comes from the Museum of the Moving Image


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