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Marvels of Media Festival Opening Night

Thursday, Mar 28, 2024 at 6:30 pm

Location: Redstone Theater

Join us for the opening night celebration, including a reception, virtual reality showcase, and remarks by founder of Marvels of Media Josh Sapan and Advisory Council member and director Tony Spiridakis, actor and director Tony Goldwyn, and Christina Curry, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. 

Unique Romances is a selection of short films that explore the multitude of ways autistic people navigate dating and relationships, a theme rarely represented in film. These stories traverse a range of genres, including comedy, magical realism, and fantasy. Three of these shorts depict queer characters and romances. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers Dani Bowman, Tal Anderson, Kory Mann, Violet Gallo, and Jeremy Andrew Davis, moderated by filmmaker-playwright Jackson Tucker-Meyer, about telling romantic stories and queer and autistic representation in film. 

Free with RSVP. 

Unique Romances features the following short films: 

Starcrossed Destinies (Dir. Dani Bowman. 2023, 3 mins.) 
With the voices of Dani Bowman and Natalie Hutchins. In this animated short, two classmatesa human and an alienbond over their shared passion for astronomy beneath a shimmering night sky. Bowman (Love on the Spectrum) directed and edited the film; Hutchins wrote the original story and is one of the animators who worked on the film at Danimation Entertainment, an organization dedicated to empowering autistic animators to find a career in animation. New York premiere 

70/50 (Dir. Kory Mann. 2023, 11 mins.) 
Kara is a queer, autistic, deeply introverted bundle of nervous energy who, after attending her first high school party, finds herself alone in a room with Haley, her long-time crush. Starring writer-director Mann, this short offers a classic comingofage romance from a brand-new perspective. New York premiere

Sensory & Sense-Ability (Dir. Jeremy Andrew Davis. 2023, 3 mins.) 
Written and directed by, and starring Davis, Sensory & Sense-Ability delves into the inner monologue of an autistic person working his way through conversation on a first date. The dialogue combines humor with thoughts and worries that anyone can relate to, while highlighting the unique challenges autistic people can face. New York premiere. Content warning: loud, overlapping noise. 

Sky and Lucia (Dir. Violet Gallo. 2022, 10 mins.) [pictured above]   
With Stephanie Bui, Maple Leung, Matthew Courson. Created as part of the program Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, this magical realist short film centers on Sky, a shy high-school student who disappears when faced with turbulent emotional situations. In order to overcome this strange phenomenon, she must learn to stand up for herself. When Sky joins forces with Lucia, the two form a friendship, then a budding romance. Content warning: bullying. 

Polyphony (Dir. Harold Hall, Jr. 2023, 5 mins.)  
With Tal Anderson, Anthony Purnell. In this charming romantic comedy, Emily Martin, a twenty-something aspiring songwriter is perfectly content without a boyfriend. She loves her time by herself: watching movies and spending time with her cat. Suddenly, everything changes when she finds herself in a duet with a stranger. Polyphony stars neurodivergent actors Anderson (Atypical, As We See It) and Purnell (Wild, Wild, West Hollywood) as neighbors who form an unexpected connection through song. New York premiere

Wilmington Escaped (Dir. Carrie Hawks. 2023, 6 mins.)
This virtual reality film, screening in the Fox Amphitheater takes guests on a ghost tour, including real accounts of enslaved people traveling to other worlds around
the time of the 1898 racism-fueled insurrection of Wilmington, North Carolina. Content warning: racism and death. 

Accessibility Information: 

A sensory-friendly space is available in the Digital Learning Suite on the first floor. Sensory kits are available at the front desk. 

Location: Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Avenue in Astoria, Queens, NY 11106, and the film screening will happen in the Bartos Screening Room, which is on the first floor, towards the left side of the large staircase.  

Transportation by subway: Closest subway stations are the R at Steinway Street and N/W at 36 Ave. Please check with the MTA for any service changes, especially on weekends. For other ways of transportation, please see this page 

Wheelchair Access: The Museum is fully accessible by wheelchair. In the Redstone theater, there is space for wheelchairs near the entrance and at the back of the theater. 

Assistive Listening with Amplified Sound: Please inform us if you need an assistive listening device with amplified sound. When you arrive at the Museum, to receive an assistive listening device, you can ask for this device at the Admissions Desk. 

Captions and American Sign Language (ASL): The film screening will have open captions and ASL interpretation for the introductions and panel discussions.  

If you have any questions, please contact Tiffany Joy Butler by emailing [email protected] or calling 718-777-6800.