SCREEN FORWARD: Butter on the Latch

Part Bergman’s PERSONA, part early David Lynch, BUTTER ON THE LATCH is a tour-de-force of intensely visceral filmmaking intercut with moments of serene, startling poetry.

2014 | dir: Josephine Decker | 72 min

Former performance artist Josephine Decker’s stunning debut feature is a deeply subjective, mysterious and erotic portrait of a frantic young woman, Sarah (Sarah Small) who leaves the city for the apparent safety of a Balkan music camp hidden deep in the California woods. Once there she reconnects with a former friend, Isolde (played by Korean-American puppeteer Isolde Chae-Lawrence) and does some hilariously foul-mouthed female bonding – until she finds herself growing attracted to a hunky male camper, Steph (Charlie Hewson). Gradually her already-frayed grip on reality starts to unravel, as cinematographer Ashley Connor’s superb, disorienting camerawork and the swirling Balkan music become darker and more disorienting. Her personality finally shatters in a moment of transcendent violence that causes us to question whether we too have become lost in the deep, impenetrable forest of fear and desire.

“the kind of feature debut the film industry simply doesn’t support, but would do well to encourage: a visually poetic, virtually free-form groove in which emotion, rather than narrative, guides viewers through a young woman’s visit to a Balkan folk music camp” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“I was putty in Decker’s hands…” – Mark Lukenbill, Hammer to Nail

“an utter exhilaration of cinematic imagination, a pure high of invention” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“a sexy, wild romp you have to see to believe” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“a fascinating and truly original work of art” – Christopher Bourne, TwitchFilm


• Friday, November 14 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

• Saturday, November 15 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

• Sunday, November 16 from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM

• Monday, November 17 from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM

• Tuesday, November 18 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

• Wednesday, November 19 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

• Thursday, November 20 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

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Having started her career in documentaries, helping to produce for A&E, ABC and Discovery, Josephine Decker often builds her work from improvisation and collaboration with real communities.

Her recent feature Butter on the Latch – called “a sexy, wild romp you have to see to believe” by In- diewire and “an utter exhilaration of cinematic imagination” by The New Yorker — is set at a real-life Balkan folk song and dance camp. The film, based on a Balkan folk song, explores the dark intimacy and neuroses of a female friendship, was included in Film Comment’s year-end list of Best Undistrib- uted Films of 2013, and will have its international premiere at the Berlinale 2014. Recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Josephine has just completed her second narrative feature Thou Wast Mild and Lovely. Starring Joe Swanberg, Robert Longstreet, Sophie Traub and Kristin Slaysman and inspired by a character from John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” Thou Wast Mild and Lovely balances horror, beauty, and intimacy as an erotic thriller set in the wilds of Kentucky. The film will World Premiere at the Berlinale 2014.

In 2008, Josephine directed the documentary feature Bi The Way, exploring the rise of bisexuality in America and available on Logo and Netflix. The film screened at SXSW, Silverdocs, and about 100 festivals worldwide and received write‐ups in The Austin Chronicle, Curve Magazine, The New York Times, New York Magazine, and The Dallas Morning News, among others. Josephine’s short films and music videos have played at MoMA, SXSW, Cucalorus, Maryland, and Austin Film Festival, have won children’s programming awards, and can be seen on PBS and Kidzbop. Her short Me The Terrible, about a child pirate who tries to conquer New York City, received a glowing review in The New Yorker.

Fortunate to be collaborating with artists she admires, Josephine Decker spent the past few years pro- ducing short videos for United Way, creative producing a doc for performance artist Sarah Small and acting in films by directors like Joe Swanberg, Onur Tukel and Spencer Parsons. Josephine also raises awareness about environmental issues through her performance art.

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The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced the first five projects to get weeklong theatrical runs at the state of the art Made In NY Media Center’s theater as part of the Screen Forward program. The program gives filmmakers in the process of self-distribution or micro-distribution the unique opportunity to gain a much-coveted NYC theatrical week-run, with IFP working with each filmmaking team on comprehensive audience engagement and grassroots outreach strategies, publicity support, coverage in Filmmaker Magazine, and a revenue split to all participating filmmakers.

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