STF Winter Season Opening Night
Winner of DOC NYC 2012 Metropolis Jury Prize
“Like “Grey Gardens” reimagined by Chris Marker, “Girl With Black Balloons” maintains a hypnotic effect, evolving into a perceptive diary film about the nature of all creation” – Indiewire
“Girl With Black Balloons is a beautifully conceived excavation — part archeological, part psychological — into the life and times of a truly authentic New York City character.” – Alan Berliner
Bettina is said to be the most beautiful woman to have ever lived in the legendary Chelsea Hotel in New York City, according to residents, yet has hidden herself away in her studio for over 40 years. She sleeps on a lawn-chair and surrounds herself with boxes stacked from floor to ceiling, filled with works of her art that have never seen the light of day. These boxes hide a stunning body of work – but it’s come at a huge cost. Her life as a reclusive guardian over her creativity and artwork inspires us to think about the world that we have each chosen for ourselves, how we are captive of it or freed by it.
During humorous, intimate and provocative moments, first-time director Corinne van der Borch develops a delicate friendship with Bettina and gradually unveils the life of one of New York’s last true eccentrics.
GIRL WITH BLACK BALLOONS will be preceded by the 11 min. short film THE PARTY IN TAYLOR MEAD’S KITCHEN, directed by Jeffrey Wengrofsky of The Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers.
After reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Taylor Mead, the scion of Michigan’s Democratic Party political boss Harry Mead, left his Grosse Point home and Merrill Lynch sinecure to hitchhike across the United States. Upon arriving in San Francisco, his ability to write and perform clever, bawdy, homoerotic poems made Taylor an instant hit with the Beatnik scene. He soon came to personify the Beatnik ethic in Ron Rice’s classic film, THE FLOWER THIEF, in 1960. Deciding to move to the Lower East Side of New York, then the Beat capital of the world, Taylor was soon a fixture of the downtown poetry scene and a Warhol Superstar, most famously appearing in “Tarzan and Jane Revisited&”8230;Sort of,” and most notoriously, as the star of &”8216;Taylor Mead’s Ass” in 1964. Taylor has since appeared scores of films, has acted for the stage, and has published books of poetry.
Fifty-odd years after trading in upper-crust luxury for bohemian art stardom, THE PARTY IN TAYLOR MEAD’S KITCHEN finds Taylor still living a life of poetry, painting, partying, acting, homo-eroticism, modest living, and indifference to bourgeois notions of hygiene. We visit the octogenarian in his Lower East Side grotto, finding him still brilliant, boyishly innocent, abundantly cute, and wanting to party at noon. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life while dishing the dirt on Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Ron Rice, Woody Allen, and Tallulah Bankhead.
The Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers is based in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and takes special pride in depicting the lives of local heroes.