Science on Screen at First Look 2024

First Look, MoMI’s annual festival showcasing adventurous new cinema, returns for its 13th edition, taking place March 13-17, 2024. The festival includes two feature films presented by Science on Screen, both of which are New York premieres and will be accompanied by conversations with the filmmakers. In addition, Science on Screen will be presenting screenplay readings read by professional actors of the two projects that recevied the $20,000 Sloan Student Prizes: Grand Jury Prize winner Justine Beed’sLA FORZA and Discovery Prize winner Lara Palmqvist’s THE GARDEN.

Sloan-winning filmmaker Swetha Regunathan will also join the festival for a session of Working on It, a lab-like environment for work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and discussions about the artistic process. Lastly, Curator of Science & Technology Sonia Epstein has organized a gallery exhibition of artist Fiona Tan's new work Footsteps, which will open in conjunction with First Look and remain on view through June 16, 2024.

Details on the above are as follows:


Thursday, Mar 14, 2024 at 8:15 p.m.

With directors Mariam Chachia and Nik Voigt in person

Dir. Mariam Chachia, Nik Voigt. Georgia/Poland. 2023, 75 mins. DCP. In Georgian and Russian with English subtitles. In the spectacular mountains of southwest Georgia sits the Abastumani sanatorium, a treatment hospital for patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis. As in Thomas Mann’s influential novel, the central character in MAGIC MOUNTAINis the sanitorium, which becomes a site of fantasies and nightmares, a home of the living and the dead, inhabited at different times by the rich and those with nowhere else to go. With a precise approach to image and sound, the film documents the lives of patients, nurses, and doctors in the now dilapidated, once majestic building, and the unlikely home they’ve made for themselves within the treatment regimen their condition requires. Georgian filmmaker Mariam Chachia’s epistolary voiceover is a love letter that also exorcises Abastumani from her psyche—she was almost committed there when she was diagnosed with TB—and a reflection on the place of the sanatorium within Georgian society. Docs Award for Best Film, 2023 DocsBarcelona. Presented as part of Science on Screen. New York premiere


Saturday, Mar 16, 2024 at 8:00 p.m.

With director Ekiem Barbier and producer Boris Garavini in person

Dir. Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, and Quentin L’helgoualc’h. France. 2023, 95 mins. DCP. In English and Frenchwith English subtitles. On the 250 km2 island of Chernarus, an Eastern European, post-Soviet republic in the Green Sea, chaos and destruction reign as people infected with a zombifying virus threaten the survivors. French filmmaking trio Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, and Quentin L’helgoualc’h drop into this fictional landscape, which exists within the world of the video game DayZ, as journalistic avatars. Over 963 hours, before and during COVID lockdowns, the team endeavors to stay alive long enough to film their interactions with the surprising community of people who spend their time in this VR world. Shot with aesthetic precision solely within the game engine, KNIT'S ISLANDmanages to crack the veneer of players’ characters, giving us a window into their “real” lives. But which reality is more real to the players? Jury Prize, Burning Lights Competition, 2023 Visions du Réel, Cinematic Vision Award, Camden International Film Festival. Presented as part of Science on Screen and Welcome to the Machine. New York premiere

Sloan Screenplay Readings

Saturday, Mar 16, 2024 at 12:30 p.m.

Select scenes from the two screenplays awarded the 2023 Sloan Student Prizes—Grand Jury Prize winner Justine Beed’sLa Forza and Discovery Prize winner Lara Palmqvist’s The Garden—will be read by professional actors as part of this special program, produced and directed by Mêlisa Annis, and followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Free with RSVP.

Fiona Tan: Footsteps—Artist Reception

Friday, Mar 15, 2024 at 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a reception with artist Fiona Tan to celebrate the opening of Footsteps, now on view in the Amphitheater Gallery. The reception will include a conversation between Tan and curator Sonia Epstein.
RSVP to attend.