Brothers Josh and Benny Safdie are filmmakers living on the outskirts of New York civilization, empowering the con men and the derelicts of the world with movies about underground society and the population that inhabits it. Streaked in a twisted nostalgia for a grimy world that no longer exists, their films are sordid.
But they are also steeped in tenderness and powerful emotional intensity - the films come from sensitive people who feel the world very deeply.
Both filmmakers broke out in 2008; Josh's feature THE PLEASURE OF BEING ROBBED premiered at SXSW and played at the Director's Fortnight in Cannes, and Benny's short THE ACQUAINTANCES OF A LONELY JOHN premiered at Cannes as well, in the same program.
Together with the help of director Ronald Bronstein, they created the semi-autobiographical film DADDY LONGLEGS the following year - it premiered at Cannes and also played at Sundance. For this film they were awarded the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award, an honor given to the best film made under $500,000.
Austin Film Society is welcoming these unique filmmakers to present DADDY LONGLEGS on Monday August 22. This is a truly fantastic film, and on our limited run of it last year it was a revelation. They’re also coming to do a Moviemaker Dialogue with AFS on Tuesday the 23rd.
But the most exciting event to me is a shorts program the Safdies will be presenting on Wednesday the 24th. These young writers/directors will be presenting 7 short films as part of our “Outside In” series. As short-form filmmakers, the Safdies are able to explore characters on the edge of our culture, and the scenarios and environments they create are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Just check out this short (a recent favorite of mine, and one that is NOT part of the program we’re playing on the 23rd): STRAIGHT HUSTLE
As you can see, they’re working on a level apart from everyone else, and they capture a fascinating world we should all strive to hang out in.
Come see the Safdie Brothers as they host the North American Premiere of this new shorts program – Wednesday, August 23rd, 7pm at the Ritz.