Offering a rare reprieve from soul-sucking summer blockbusters and the paralyzing stick of the city heat, BAMcinemaFest is back for its fourth year with a carefully curated selection from Cannes, South by Southwest, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin and more. Running from June 20 to July 1, the festival will feature over 20 New York premieres, including two Tribeca Film releases: For Ellen and The Comedy. Dedicated to showcasing American indie filmmaking talent—burgeoning and fully bloomed alike—the program ideally balances cinematic ingenuity with compelling storytelling.

The Comedy / Courtesy of Tribeca Film

The Comedy
Dir. Rick Alverson
Saturday, June 23: 9:30 pm

Q&A with Rick Alverson

Wednesday June 27: 9:00 pm
Q&A with Tim Heidecker and Rick Alverson
Presented in partnership with Rooftop Films, this encore outdoor screening  includes live music and an after-party with free beer.
Rain Date: Sunday, July 1 at 9:00 pm

Rick Alverson’s ironically titled The Comedy is black in pitch and shrewdly caustic in tone. Offering a biting critique of the over privileged not-quite youth of today (specifically of the white male variety), the film centers on a 30-something man-child, Swanson (played by comedian Tim Heidecker in a breakthrough dramatic role). With nothing better to do while he detachedly awaits his father’s death and the inheritance that comes with it, Swanson meanders through Brooklyn’s hipster havens, leaving a trail of prank-like misdemeanors in his wake. With supporting roles played by Eric Wareheim (Heidecker’s partner in crime in both the TV series, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and their Sundance debut, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie) and LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, the film infuses the grown man slacker milieu of Apatow/Rogan with cringe-worthy comedic moments reminiscent of Ricky Gervais to offer an unrelenting examination of the dangers of entitlement and ambivalence.

For Ellen / Courtesy of Tribeca Film

For Ellen
Dir. So Yong Kim
Thursday, June 28: 9:15 pm

Q&A with So Yong Kim and Paul Dano

Writer-director So Yong Kim’s fourth feature is elegantly paced and steadfastly dedicated to the flaws and imperfections of an ideally cast ensemble of characters, including Paul Dano, Jon Heder and Jena Malone. With the imminent dissolution of his never-famous metal band in sight, the not particularly likable Joby Taylor (Dano) heads out on a road trip to finalize a divorce settlement with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva). A series of foul-ups and misfortunes (most notably by his small-town lawyer, who fails to get him custody of his daughter) leave him swirling in the murky depths of his own existential crisis as he struggles to find even a moment of emotional clarity. Dano carries the film with a decidedly naturalistic and raw performance, while Heder offers moments of deadpan comic relief. For her part, Kim manages emotional engagement without resorting to emotional puppetry.

Tickets can be purchased online, and if you can’t make it to BAM, look for For Ellen and The Comedy in September and October, respectively, both in select theaters and nationwide on demand.