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Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image may not be fully functional until a massive renovation project currently taking place at its 35th Avenue site is completed in two years, but the museum continues to host a number of new programs, exhibits and screenings in the borough and at various Manhattan locales.
The museum’s $65 million upgrade will include renovating the building’s first floor, as well as constructing a three−story addition that will include a new theater, screening room, galleries and an education center. The museum will open its new facilities in 2010.
Meanwhile, the museum is hosting a variety of film screening programs in Queens and Manhattan. Each summer, the cultural institution collaborates with Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park for its annual Outdoor Film Festival, at which free screenings of films from around the world are shown on the park’s premises and accompanied by live music and food.
In September, the museum kicked off its World Cinema Showcase at LaGuardia Community College’s Performing Arts Center in Long Island City. The program, an extension of the Socrates festival, features films from Africa, China, Greece, Israel, Italy, Romania, Latin America, South Korea and the United States this year. Each screening is introduced by a curator and includes a discussion between audience members and filmmakers or film scholars.
Upcoming screenings include 2007 Cannes Film Festival Palm d’Or winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days” Dec. 19 and 2006 film “In Between Days,” which will include a discussion with Brooklyn−based director So Yong Kim, on Jan. 23. Tickets for the screenings are free for museum members, $8 for students and $10 for everyone else.
The museum will also feature an impressive lineup in December for its monthly collaborative series with Variety magazine at the Times Center on West 41st Street in Manhattan.
During the next month, the series will feature screenings of the year’s most critically acclaimed holiday films, including David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, “Doubt” with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the animated film “Waltz with Bashir,” Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” with Mickey Rourke and Stephen Daldry’s “The Reader” with Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet.
Filmmakers or actors will speak after most of the screenings, Schwartz said. But screenings will be for members only, he said.
“It’s a great reason to become a member at this time,” said David Schwartz, chief film curator at Moving Image. “It’s an amazing lineup of films. These are some of the most anticipated films of the year.”
The museum will also host an evening with director and actor Dennis Hopper at the Times Center, which will be introduced by filmmaker Julian Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” ) and moderated by Schwartz.
“He’s always been one of the more edgy and interesting characters in American film,” Schwartz said. “He’s a fascinating actor and director. But he’s also really known for his artwork and photography. He’s had museum retrospectives in the U.S., but also Paris and Russia. There’s so much he could talk about.”
The event is part of a series, known as the Pinewood Dialogues, that the museum hosts each month with prominent members of the film and television industry. Future guests have not yet been announced.
The museum’s theater at its 35th Avenue site in Astoria will be closed until the renovation is complete, but its gallery is open and currently featuring “Behind the Screen,” which displays more than 1,200 historical artifacts relating to the film and television industry.
At the exhibit, attendees can take part in a number of interactive activities, such as learning how to edit sound, make animation or create sound effects for actual films, including “Jurassic Park” or “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Schwartz said. Admission to the museum will be free through the new year.
The Moving Image will also screen Albert Lamorisse’s beloved 1956 film “The Red Balloon” in a new print six days a week during its “Tut’s Fever Movie Palace” series at its Astoria site through Dec. 24, Schwartz said.
The museum’s recently launched online magazine “Moving Image Source” has also been picking up steam since it debuted last summer. The site features film essays, an extensive research program and listings for movie screenings at 150 venues worldwide, including the city’s Museum of Modern Art, the Paris−based Cinematheque Francaise and the Filmarchiv Austria in Vienna.
The site features a number of contributors, including film critics Michael Atkinson, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Melissa Anderson, while film scholars will be able to access more than 500 Web−based resources in the site’s Research Guide, an annotated and maintained database of journals, archives and film−related libraries.
The Museum of the Moving Image has also relaunched its online “Living Room Candidate” series, which features television commercials from presidential elections from 1952 to the present.
For more information, visit www.movingimage.us.
Read movie reviews by Nathan Duke at www.criticalconditions.net
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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