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Take a Stroll With Topless Activist Moira Johnston at Indie Film Festival - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Take a Stroll With Topless Activist Moira Johnston at Indie Film Festival


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Video contains brief nudity.

A film festival at Theatre 80 next week aims to highlight imaginative films by undiscovered and emerging filmmakers, and one of the featured shorts stars local topless activist Moira Johnston.

From Nov. 2 to 4, Take Two will feature 56 independent films – a diverse range of shorts, full-length features, and documentaries – from 14 countries. “Killing the Dog” is about a streetwise werewolf from Brooklyn; “Bi the Way” follows five people ushering in a sexual revolution; “Better This World” explores the current nature of political activism.

The festival’s organizer, Salon Ciel, an exhibitor of photographers and visual artists, staged its first film festival last year at Gallery Bar. Only five films were shown but the number of submissions and enthusiasm from the audience convinced Salon Ciel’s producer, Asher Bar Lev, of the need for a bigger event.

Killing the DogCourtesy of Take Two Still from “Killing the Dog”

Theatre 80 has a great adventurous tradition,” said Mr. Bar Lev of the venue at 80 Saint Marks Place. “They’re quirky, they’re offbeat, they’re different and we kind of see ourselves the same way.”

The festival is comprised of nine blocks (three per day) of films that range from two to 101 minutes. Q&As with filmmakers follow each of the screenings, except for the two during which the 11 winners of the “Manny” will be awarded their trophy, a 12-inch-tall manhole cover that represents “a literal interpretation of Take Two removing the lid that’s covering underground films.”

Mr. Bar Lev said the festival would offer exposure to emerging filmmakers. “A lot of them have had no exposure outside their film schools,” he said. “This puts them in the world.”

The MannyCourtesy of Take Two The Manny

But some filmmakers are quite worldly already. Babak Andishmand, an Amsterdam resident who was born in Tehran, has two films in the festival: “Street Epics #5 Starring Bon Jane,” which depicts a day in the life of the Brooklyn performance artist and “Street Epics #10 Starring Moira Johnston,” about the topless activist.

“Making works with the fullest freedom of expression, free from any form of subjection or censorship, is something I am very conscious about,” said the 26-year-old, who fled Iran at a young age. “The Take Two film festival accepts works made by a wide variety of filmmakers from around the world who live under different circumstances and need that exposure that they might not be able to enjoy in their own country.”

Conor Stratton, the writer and director of “Killing the Dog,” also benefitted from Take Two’s open submission policy. The 25-year-old New Yorker calls his film a “homegrown effort.” The film, five years in the making and shot on a DSLR camera, conveys fantasy elements (werewolves, ghosts, magic) without the use of CGI. “So, of course, we ended up being too genre for the indie festivals and too indie for the genre festivals,” Mr. Scratton said. “Take Two immediately understood our film.”

Detailed information for each of the featured films can be found at Take Two’s Website, where tickets for each block are available for $9 for students and $12 for adults. Discounted single-day, two-day, and three-day passes are also available.