Lower East Side Film Festival Programming Announced For May 4-8

Events include exclusive feature film premieres, specialty short showcases, industry panels, and parties from May 4 - 8 at the Village East Cinema,

By: Apr. 19, 2023
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Lower East Side Film Festival Programming Announced For May 4-8

​ The 2023 Lower East Side Film Festival ("LESFF") has announced the programming for its 13th annual event, which includes exclusive feature film premieres, specialty short showcases, industry panels, and parties from May 4 - 8 at the Village East Cinema, DCTV Firehouse Cinema, plus virtually through May 14. Enjoy the open bar for all screenings. Tickets are on-sale now and virtually.

The downtown indie festival continues its expanded viewership with a hybrid approach (in-person plus streaming) focused on highly curated programming and one-of-a-kind events and talent, including Zosia Mamet, (The Decameron (Netflix), Aristotle Athari (SNL, Silicon Valley), Jo Firestone (Shrill), Ana Fabrega (Los Espookys), Phoebe Tyers (Search Party), Erin Darke (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Good Girls Revolt), Sophie Zucker (comedian/writer The Daily Show, Dickinson), Yaron Lotan (FX's FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE), Marquis Rodriguez (When They See Us), Isaac Powell (Dear Evan Hansen, American Horror Story), and many more. LESFF will also showcase a number of notable narrative and documentary feature film premieres.

This year's judges on the panel include Tina Satter (Writer/Director), Dan Pearlman (Flatbush Misdemeanors), Abhay Sofsky (Editor, The Last Dance, 100 Foot Wave) Halavah Sofksy (Producer, The Other Two, The Chris Gethard Show), among others. View the full jury here.

"We love the movies. That's the simplest way to put it," says Festival Director, Roxy Hunt. "For me, there's nothing like standing in the back of a dark theater, waiting with anticipation to see how the audience will react as the night unfolds, and being filled with so much joy when I hear the laughs, the shock, the appreciation, for each film they see - knowing that they put their trust in us. Any New Yorker has an endless amount of choices on how they'll spend any given night, and I can't describe how honored I feel they choose to spend it with us."

Select programming is below.

More to be announced.

Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 PM Big Apple, Short Films (New York Filmmaker Shorts)

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

Whether you're hustlin' to make your art, sweating through summer in the city, or just trying to grab a slice - we get it. That's New York. These are the small stories that make up the big apple.

Films include: Promise of Spring; Cousins; Filing Holes; Call me anytime, I'm not leaving the house; A Part of You/Made me whole again; Dollar Pizza Documentary

Thursday, May 4 at 8:30 PM NY Opening Night - NY PREMIERE: Molli & Max In The Future

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

The sci-fi romantic comedy, directed by Michael Lukk Litwak. Followed by a Q&A with Litwak and the full cast. A story about a woman (Zosia Mamet, The Decameron (Netflix), The Flight Attendant (HBO/Max), Girls) and a man (Aristotle Athari, SNL, Silicon Valley) whose orbits repeatedly collide over the course of 12 years, 4 planets, 3 dimensions, and one space-cult. The film also features performances from Aparna Nancherla (Netflix's The Standups, The Great North, The Drop), Erin Darke (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Good Girls Revolt), Arturo Castro (The Menu, Narcos, Broad City), Okieriete Onaodowan (Hamilton, Station 19, Demascus (AMC)), Matteo Lane (Netflix's The Comedy Lineup, Survival of the Thickest, Stand Out), Paloma Garcia-Lee (Steven Spielberg's West Side Story), Danny Burstein (Moulin Rouge (Tony Award), Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies) and Michael Chernus (Dead Ringers, Severance). Directed by Michael Lukk Litwak.

Thursday, May 4 at 10:00 PM: Opening Night Party

Location: Bowery Electric (327 Bowery)

Opening night afterparty offering an open bar with live performances by Charlie Blasberg and the Immortals.

Friday, May 5 from 3 PM - 5 PM Filmmaker Reception

Location: Essex Market Mezzanine (88 Essex St).

LESFF welcomes our 2023 Filmmakers to meet and mingle for an afternoon of complimentary beer and wine in collaboration with our partner and neighbor, Essex Market. Meet us upstairs on the iconic mezzanine for drinks and LIVE music, overlooking the bustling Essex Market filled with some of NYC's best-known vendors. *All LESFF 2023 Filmmakers get access to this event. The general public may purchase tickets.

Friday, May 5 at 7:00 PM MIND F*CK SHORTS

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

Join us for an evening of Mind f-ing Fun!

Films include: Dead Enders, Lollygag, Gold & Mud, Well Wishes my love, your love, Goose Egg, Pennies From Heaven

Friday, May 5 at 8:00 PM WORLD PREMIERE: The Woods Are Real

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

What happens when you have to put your mouth where your money is? In a time of increasing alienation and expanding class divides, an affluent Brooklyn couple is forced to put their values to the test. Join us for the WORLD PREMIERE of The Woods Are Real Joba and Quincy are a wealthy Brooklyn couple who value charity above all. But when a friend returns from a country pilgrimage to challenge their bleeding hearts, they accept an invitation that will change their lives forever. Written by Sean Christopher Lewis (These Hopeless Savages), and Matt Dellapina (Kevin Can F**k Himself, For Life), Directed by Alix Lambert (Mark Of Cain, Deadwood), starring Matt Dellapina, Campbell Scott (Jurassic World: Dominion, House Of Cards), Chinasa Ogbuagu (The Girl From Plainville, Mare of Easttown), Nick Westrate (TURN: Washington's Spies). Q&A to follow with Filmmakers & cast.

Friday, May 5 at 9:00 PM "Dazed and Confused" 30th Anniversary Screening

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

Join(t) us as we kick off NYC's first summer of legal marijuana with a special 30th-anniversary screening of Richard Linklater's iconic 1993 film, Dazed and Confused, with live commentary from comedians Jordan Carlos (The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore) and Phoebe Robinson (HBO's 2 Dope Queens, Everything's Trash), plus a virtual introduction from Richard Linklater.

Saturday, May 6 at 2:00 PM- 8:00 PM Doc Day

Location: DCTV's Firehouse Cinema (87 Lafayette St.)

LESFF celebrates the freshest voices in documentary filmmaking with their neighbor and partner DCTV, at their new Firehouse Cinema. Join us for a day-long celebration of documentary storytelling, featuring live conversations, and world premiere screenings.

2:30 PM at DCTV Live Conversation: How True is Your Doc? Exploring the fallacies behind the facts. Join us for a conversation with industry leaders about objectivity, ethics, and the impact of Documentary films in an age of peak commercialization.
4:30 PM at DCTV Documentary Feature: There Goes The Neighborhood. New York City is currently undergoing a period of Hyper-Gentrification. This is a portrait of the communities fighting back. Join us for the feature documentary There Goes The Neighborhood, directed by Ian Phillips. Q&A with filmmakers to follow the screening.
6:30 PM at DCTV Documentary Feature: NEW YORK PREMIERE - The Book of Harth. What do Jennifer Lopez, Aaron Paul, Tom Hiddleston, Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde, Wyatt Cenac, Robert DeNiro, Guillermo Del Toro, Pharrell Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bryan Cranson, Bono, Jesse Ventura, and Holly Woodlaw all have in common? They've all signed David Greg Harth's Bible...and appear in this documentary. Join us for this feature documentary 20 years in the making from filmmaker Pierre Guillet. Q&A with filmmakers to follow the screening.
8:30 PM at DCTV Documentary Feature: WORLD PREMIERE- The Performance. Join us for the WORLD PREMIERE of this feature documentary that follows the story of Hussein, 27, who learned to breakdance from a soldier in Iraq as a kid, then chased his American Dream to NYC. Now an aspiring choreographer, he mistakes a shot at success for a breakthrough and loses everything, but will do whatever it takes to keep dreaming. Directed by Alfredo Chiarappa and Caterina Cleri. Q&A with filmmakers to follow the screening.

(Moss Beach)

Sunday, May 7 at 6:00 PM Family Ties Shorts

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

Ever had a tricky conversation with a family member? We relate...get it? ;) These shorts will take you on a journey through all of the ups, the downs, and the awkward moments that tie us to our families. Films include: Cousins; Sulam; Sin Raices; Immutable Uncertainties; Donkey

Sunday, May 7 at 7:00 PM WORLD PREMIERE: Moss Beach

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

A literary translator in San Francisco is unexpectedly visited by her niece, who she has not seen since a tragic family event. The two then spend the weekend together in a small coastal town. Written and Directed by Armon Mahdavi. Starring Nancy Kimball, Laura Wayth. Filmmakers in attendance with Q&A to follow.

Sunday, May 7 at 8:00 PM LOVE BITES Shorts

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

Whether you're experimenting with a third, venturing into the geriatric dating world, or simply spying on a hot neighbor - love can be a slippery slope. These shorts are here to pave your path towards love.

Films include: THREESOME, Didn't Think I'd See You Here, Singles Retreat, A TINDR TRAP, Lollygag

Monday, May 8 at 5:30 PM BUDDIES! Shorts

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

Bring your old friends, new friends - or no friends, and spend some time celebrating these on-screen buddies. Films include: Filling Holes; Doe; The Space Between Us; Faranak; A Crack in Universe

Monday, May 8 at 7:30 PM Closing Night: NEW YORK PREMIERE - HBO's Great Photo, Lovely Life

Location: Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave.)

HBO Documentary Films. Directed by Amanda Mustard and Rachel Beth Anderson. Q&A with filmmakers to follow. Photojournalist Amanda Mustard returns home to Pennsylvania to investigate the sexual abuse crimes committed by her grandfather. A visual whirlwind of memories from her family's archive unravels a world of secrets through interviews, photographs and home movies. An eight-year cinematic journey, Great Photo, Lovely Life chronicles a granddaughter's attempt to disrupt a cycle of intergenerational trauma through the voices of the survivors and her grandfather himself.

Monday, May 8 at 9:00 PM Closing Night Party

Location: Jac's on Bond (26 Bond St.)

Close out the 2023 Lower East Side Film Festival with complimentary drinks and festivities at Jac's on Bond - the newest neighborhood cocktail bar amongst the iconic cobblestones of Bond Street.

(HBO's Great Photo, Lovely Life)



The Lower East Side Film Festival (LESFF) features the innovative work of creative, up-and-coming filmmakers, and showcases their films in the heart of New York City's vibrant and historic Lower East Side. The festival has hosted hundreds of films, panels, and events that focus on diversity, originality, quality, and impact. We are committed to creating an unparalleled experience that combines visionary, independent filmmaking with the counterculture spirit of the Lower East Side.


2023 will mark the 13th Anniversary of the Lower East Side Film Festival. In its inaugural year, the LESFF crew turned a Lower East Side pop-up storefront space into a unique and intimate theater that featured a month-long residency of sold-out screenings of some of the independent film community's most innovative new talent. Since then, the festival has premiered hundreds of short and feature films, hosted thousands of audience members, and has been deemed "one of the most exciting under the radar film events in all of New York City" (Film.com). LESFF was featured in New York Magazine's Approval Matrix (under "Highbrow/ Brilliant"), The New York Times, Interview, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, The New York Post, IndieWire, Variety, and many many more.

Over the years, the festival has expanded from that modest storefront into bigger venues (the famous Sunshine Cinema, Anthology Film Archives, Soho House, The Crosby Street Hotel, Village East Cinema) and created special downtown NYC experiences including Rooftop Pool Party Screenings, Drive-In Movie Theater Block Parties, World Premiere screenings, Industry Panels, Concerts, Comedy Shows, and Video Installations. LESFF has also launched a podcast on indie filmmaking, "Below the Line", and secured distribution for its up and coming independent filmmakers. In 2020, the festival was held virtually and reached an audience of film-lovers all over the world, and furthered that reach in 2021 and 2022 with a hybrid festival of both in-person and online screenings.

Past Lower East Side Film Festival judges and talent have included Ethan Hawke, Susan Sarandon, Willem Dafoe, Denis O'Hare, Laverne Cox, Rosario Dawson, Rami Malek, Parker Posey, Ilana Glazer, Dolly Parton, Indya Moore, Oscar Isaac, Samantha Bee, Dana Brunetti, Natasha Lyonne, Marky Ramone, Rebecca Miller, Sasheer Zamata, Judah Friedlander, Lizzy Caplan, Amy Arbus, Justin Bond, Tig Notaro, Nick Kroll, Eliza Dushku, Chloe Fineman and many, many more.

Great films are made with creativity, innovation, and heart. In spite of the awesome and famous talent that has passed through our festival, LESFF will always seek out the undiscovered and underdog filmmakers who know that a huge budget does not equal a great film.