The Museum of the Moving Image will present 40 innovative new international films during its eighth annual First Look series, which is set to run from Friday, Jan. 11, to Monday, Jan. 21.

The lineup is almost as diverse as the borough with features, shorts, documentaries, and narratives from China, France, Israel, Mexico, Pakistan, and other countries and disputed territories. Some are making world premieres, while most are New York and U.S. premieres.

Organized by David Schwartz, a former Moving Image employee who founded First Look, and Eric Hynes, a film expert who still works at the museum, many of the selected works are rooted in collaboration, such as collectives, artistic partnerships, academic departments, training programs, and teacher-student team-ups. There’s no general theme, but many pieces manage to be outwardly and inwardly oriented as they critique society while offering personal explorations.

Plus, many directors will be in the theater to discuss their works.

Opening night costs $20, and then admission is usually $15 per showing. However, a $45 Festival Pass provides access to all screenings except the two Sundance Institute programs. The $100 Film Lover Pass provides access to all films, including opening night.

Here’s the schedule with brief summaries.

The New York premiere of “Donbass” (Jan. 11, 7 p.m.) with director Sergei Loznitsa in person. Vignettes on life in Ukraine’s Donbass region, which borders Russia and where war has been raging since 2014.

The Pure Necessity,” which is Belgian (Jan. 12, 2 p.m.), and the North American premiere of “All Voices Are Mine” from Pakistan.

The U.S. premiere of “The Trial” (Jan. 12, 4 p.m.) with director Sergei Loznitsa in person. This documentary is comprised of black-and-white footage from one of Joseph Stalin’s first show trials, recorded in 1930 in Moscow.

What I Did Last Summer: Spotlight on Brett Story” with Brett Story in person (Jan. 12, 4 p.m.) is conversation and multimedia presentation with a noted filmmaker and author about her practice, ideas, influences, and evolving process.

First Sight,” is a collection of shorts from the Missouri School of Journalism’s Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism with four members in person (Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m.).

The New York premiere of “Putin’s Witnesses” with director Vitaly Mansky in person (Jan. 12, 7 p.m.). This documentary focuses on Vladimir Putin when he was a presidential candidate 18 years ago.

The New York premiere of “Turtle Rock” (Jan. 13, 1:30 p.m.) tracks four seasons of a family in a remote Chinese village named after the resemblance of a local rock formation.

Going Beyond” consists of new films from the Ambulante Más Allá festival with producer Eréndira Hernández and director Meghan Monsour in person (Jan. 13, 2 p.m.). All New York premieres, the movies come from different corners of Mexico and Central America.

The Disappeared” and “Uppland” with directors of both in person (Jan. 13, 4 p.m.). “The Disappeared” is about an Israeli Army movie that was blocked by government censors just weeks before its scheduled release. “Uppland” explores a town in remote Liberia.

The North America premiere of “The Pluto Moment” (Jan. 13, 4 p.m.), a Chinese film about respected auteur who struggles to finance projects that aren’t sure-fire hits in the mainstream marketplace.

The Family with Druzina” is a spotlight on Slovenian director Rok Biček (Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m.).

The U.S. premiere of “Rojo” (Jan. 13, 7 p.m.), an Argentine thriller set during the Dirty War.

The New York premiere of “Combat Obscura” with Marine combat cameraman Miles Lagoze, who filmed in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, gathering footage for the Pentagon (Jan. 18, 7 p.m.). It’s preceded by the New York premiere of “Practice,” which was filmed near a Shaolin temple in Henan, China, and features choreography where hundreds of people dance like one. Director Iyabo Kwayana will be in person, too.

Super Succinct” and “Radically Direct” is a showcase of shorts by Joe Callander and Sophy Romvari with both directors (Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m.) in person.

The North America premiere of “Paul Est Mort” with director Antoni Collot (Jan. 19, 1:30 p.m.) in person. A mystifying French film about a young man who visits the partner of his father, the recently deceased philosopher Paul Eichmann.

The New York premiere of “Watching the Detectives” with director Chris Kennedy (Jan. 19, 2 p.m.) in person. This is about online trolls and conspiracy theorists who take to discussion groups. It’s preceded by the North American premiere of “Lasting Marks,” which is about 16 men who were put on trial for sadomasochism in the dying days of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s reign in Britain.

The North American premiere of “Possible Faces” (Jan. 19, 4 p.m.) is a Korean narrative about obsession and longing as they are experienced in daily life.

The New York premiere of “Going South” with director Dominic Gagnon in person (Jan. 19, 4 p.m.) is the second part of a planned tetralogy exploring the cardinal points of the internet in the post-truth era.

Little Ethiopia: A Live Story Development Exercise” with Joe Bini and Maya Hawke (Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m.) in person. In this live cinema performance, Hawke and Bini use personal videos and photographs, archival film clips, and repurposed excerpts from feature films to dialogue with each other using film as their common language. Festival passes are not valid for this event.

The North America premiere of “Carwash” (Jan. 19, 7 p.m.) is about a pair of hapless friends who kidnap a car wash owner, seriously overestimating his wealth. The victim takes kindly to the kidnapping, relieved at the change in scenery, and glad for some new companions.

The North America premiere of “Turning 18” (Jan. 20, 1:30 p.m.) follows two poor Taiwanese girls over several years. They meet at a vocational training program, hoping for a better future, but then end up on two different paths.

The U.S. premiere of “Disappearance of Goya” (Jan. 20, 3 p.m.) is in Arabic with English subtitles. Artists born after Lebanon’s Mountain War of 1983 make various attempts at exhuming, representing, and understanding events that have nevertheless shaped their lives.

The U.S. premiere of “The Night We Fell, Between My Flesh, and World’s Fingers,” which were directed Danish filmmaker Talena Sanders (Jan. 20, 3:30 p.m.) who will be in person. Plus, “That Time in Hawai’I,” a three-minute short on a snorkeling trip.

The North America premiere of “Las Cruces” with directors Carlos Vasquez Mendez and Terese Arredondo Lugon in person (Jan. 20, 4:30 p.m.). Shortly after the violent coup against President Salvador Allende in Chile on Sept. 11, 1973, a group of 19 union members who worked at the same paper factory were arrested and not seen again, until their corpses were found in a cemetery six years later. Actors read testimony from family members of the victims and confessions by police involved in the massacre.

Récréations” with director Claire Simon in person (Jan. 20, 5:30 p.m.) follows French kindergartners during recess.

The New York premiere of “Young Solitude” with director Claire Simon in person (Jan. 20, 7 p.m.) is a candid and uniquely collaborative group portrait of high school students at a suburban Parisian school.

First Look Shorts I is Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.

First Look Shorts II is also on Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.

The Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.

Photo: Basir Mahmood


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