Interview with the programming team at Nitehawk Cinema – NYC

Posted on 16 June 2014

NH5-exterior1. Tell me your name, function at Nitehawk and how long you’ve been there:
Caryn Coleman, Senior Film Programer/Communications: I’ve been part of the Nitehawk team since fall 2011.
John Woods, Director of Programming and Acquisitions: I’ve been on board since the conceptual stages in January 2010.
Max Cavanaugh, Technical Director / Film Programmer: I’ve been part of the Nitehawk team since February 2012.

2. How do you decide on which films to screen at Nitehawk?
Caryn Coleman: It depends on what the series is focusing on but I believe the best approach to film programming is a curatorial one: research/watch as many films as possible and then draw out connections to construct a concept for a series. Ultimately, what we program stems from our own personal interests and who/what we think is important to present to an audience at a particular time or cultural moment.

John Woods: It varies depending to some degree on if it’s part of a month long brunch or midnight series where you’re sticking to one theme or if it’s part of a larger perpetual series like Music Driven, Live+Sound+Cinema, or Film Feast. With a month long series it gives us a chance to be a little subversive sometimes by mixing the lesser known but still great films with more crowd pleasers and with a larger series. The goal is to gain the trust of your audience so they come out for the series whether they know the film or not.

3. Do you take requests from the public (I..e if there are a lot of incoming emails about particular movies that people would like to see screened at Nitehawk, are you open to doing that)?
Caryn Coleman: The repertory film programming at Nitehawk is all done in house, however, there certainly are occasions when people have reached out to us with a screening opportunity that we then realize. We do review all of the incoming screening requests and respond if it’s something that works within what we’re doing. Of course, nothing is guaranteed but we do enjoy having movie information coming in from all sources.

John Woods: We all attend and hang out at a lot of the screenings here, so we’re always meeting new people and talking with them about film while finding out about all kinds of new and old stuff. Socializing and sharing enthusiasm like this can really expand your approach to programming and keep it from becoming stagnant.

Black Devil Doll From Hell

Black Devil Doll From Hell

4. What have been some of your favorite movies screened at Nitehawk?
Caryn Coleman: Bob Clark’s Deathdream (35mm), Robert Longo’s Arena Brains, Cheryl Dunn’s Everybody Street, Edgar G. Ulmer’s Bluebeard (35mm), and the following films from our VICE/The Film Foundation screening series: Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence, and Robert Altman’s Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (all 35mm).

John Woods: Last November we did a midnight screening of Black Devil Doll From Hell and amazingly had the long sought director Chester N. Turner in house and then less then twelve hours later had Paul Auster in for a Q&A after a screening of Smoke. Other personal faves are The Fantastic Planet and Inner Space Live+Sound+Cinema screenings with Morricone Youth and more recently, Instrument with filmmaker Jem Cohen and Guy Picciotto of Fugazi.

Max Cavanaugh: My favorites are the two films that got me my job here. Before I was hired I did two midnite screenings of Street Trash with Roy Frumkes and Rocco Simonelli in person. The screenings were a huge success. I also worked on a film that was programmed here called Better Than Something: Jay Reatard. Both of these events led to me being hired. My recent favorites include McCabe and Mrs. Miller as part of the Country Brunchin’ series, Innerspace as part of the Live + Sound + Cinema series, Bluebeard as part of the Art Seen series, and Vice Squad as part of The Deuce Series.

UpstairsLobby35. What do you have planned in the near future?
Caryn Coleman: I’ve programed a British 1970s children’s film series in May called Cheeky Monkeys with The Phantom Tollbooth, The Boy Who Turned Yellow, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Oliver!. I also have the ongoing Nitehawk Naughties ‘porn chic’ program continuing in April and throughout the summer along with a Summer of Surrealism in July. There’s also the feature debut of Rough Cut, a film by British artist Jamie Shovlin on June 5.

John Woods: With all of the new music and independent documentaries being released we’ve been really encouraged by the large numbers of people coming out who understand the value of experiencing them in a theater. This is something we’re excited about continuing to be involved in by creating these unique screening events. We love having talent in for Q&As and there’s more new and established filmmakers we plan to host in the next months.

Max Cavanaugh: Each month I help curate The Deuce Film Series, which celebrates old 42nd street theaters. Each month our resident archivist and tour guide Andy McCarthy takes you on a journey through the history of the theater where the featured film premiered, followed by a 35mm presentation of the film. The screening is followed by raffles and prizes provided by The Deuce hosts, Joseph Berger and Jeff Cashvan. This month I am overjoyed to have Director Bill Lustig in person for a 35mm presentation ofVigilante.

6. What are some long term plans/news for Nitehawk that you can share?
Caryn Coleman: Look out this fall for: our second annual all-night Halloween horror film screening A Nite To Dismember (showing all sequels) along with an October film series called The Final Girl. Our Nitehawk Shorts Festival will also return this November!

John Woods: Continually challenging the expectations and possibilities of what can be done in a movie theater while remaining firmly focused on the films and programs.

Max Cavanaugh: I am looking forward to this years Shorts Fest and October’s “Nite to Dismember” Halloween program.

136 Metropolitan Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11249
www.nitehawkcinema.com

 

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