A&D Film Festival Reeled Them In

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Ant Farm in Action (Courtesy Kyle Bergman)

In spite of the glorious weather, the inaugural Architecture and Design Film Festival was a smash hit with dozens of the 40+ films shown over last weekend sold out in advance, and the notables on five accompanying panels actually sticking around for the films and conversation that ran at the Tribeca Cinemas last weekend, among them Cooper Hewitt’s Bill Moggeridge, the Times’ Pilar Vilades, and AIA’s Rick Bell.

The audience was just as packed with talent. Paul Goldberger, Diane Lewis, Jim Biber, Carin Goldberg, Rene’ Rozon (Montreal Festival of Films on Art Director) were all spotted. The Architecture and Design Film Festival is the brainchild of Kyle Bergman, architect, exhibition designer and parks advocate. The features, documentaries and shorts were clustered into thematic programs—“Graphically Speaking,”  “Legacy Bronfman,” “Tower Power!”  “Design/Build” and each ticket got you in to at least three films. Although some have been on the circuit—2007’s “Citizen Lambert” and last year’s “Visual Acoustics,” for example—and others are virtual promos for individual architects or designers (Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Jeanne Gang), the advantage of the festival is that it aggregates films on these subjects with limited distribution into a consistent package.

There clearly is a hunger for films on architecture & design, evidenced by the high attendance in the theaters, even for late-night screenings, and the packed adjacent bar. According to festival director, Laura Cardello, the most popular film was “Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm” with its vintage footage of Monty Python-esque hijinx. “As organizers we had lost all perspective,” she said, “And it’s great to be validated by the event exceeding all our expectations.”  The plan is for the festival to return next October, with explorations now underway for a venue and sponsors in Chicago for an encore showing this Spring.

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