Film Festival Recommendation: FILM MAUDIT 2.0, 2023 (Highways Performance Space and Online)

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by Tony Frankel on December 31, 2022

in Film,Music,Theater-Los Angeles,Virtual

The fourth edition of Film Maudit 2.0, a showcase and celebration of outré films, is coming to Highways Performance Space and also online @ Starting January 12, 2023, and running through February 11, 2023, you’ll find a treasure trove showcase of genre-driven cinema, inspired by the legendary artist Jean Cocteau’s 1949 festival, Festival Du Film Maudit, which celebrated a group of films that were sadly overlooked and neglected in his time. (The term “film maudit” means “cursed films.”) This year, Film Maudit 2.0 will once again feature over 100 works of cinema from 25+ countries including films rarely, if ever, seen in festivals: works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores.  The wide range of shorts, narrative, documentary and experimental films selected are  deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational and unusual. With its hybrid physical and virtual format, Film Maudit 2.0 is moving forward into the exciting future of the festival-going experience, breaking down an exclusivity that has previously marred the indie landscape and its films/filmmakers, while at the same time allowing the participation and conversation of filmmakers across time-zones who wouldn’t have the ability to travel to festivals. This dual power of both a theatrical experience and a streaming landscape for independent filmmakers allows local audiences back  to experience the richness of the live filmgoing experience with films that typically would not screen locally in such a context, while at the same time, making most of the films accessible to a wider national and international audiences in an online portal @


Feature Film LA Premieres:

Agatha (60m, USA)
Surreal Dystopian Dream Narrative / Mixed MediaEl Apego (The Attachment Diaries) (102m, Argentina)
Queer Erotic ThrillerEndless Content Forever  (70m, USA)   A half narrative, half experimental view of the numb feeling
of consuming endless amounts of
content online instead of doing anything else, forever.Fat Fleshy Fingers (85m, USA) Anthology film from Bizarroland; FM alumsThe Fifth Thoracic Vertebra (65, South Korea )
Magical realist whimsical body horrorHoly Mother (115m, Japan )
Action goreInterface (117m, USA/Canada)
Animated / SurrealJerk  (61m, France)
A puppet play by Houston Mass Murders killerLife of Mariko in Kabukicho (116m, Japan )   Darkly comic sci-fi mystery/drama; multi-storyMad in Belgium (90m, France/Belgium)   Documentary about bizarro Belgium filmmakingPiaffe (86, Germany)
Surreal psychological dramaRazzennest (80m, Austria)
Experimental Horror / Mockumentary (FM alum)Surrender Your Horns  (61m, Ireland)
Experimental Fiction-Documentary HybridTo Whoever Wants To Listen  (90m, France)
Documentary about Noise MusicWild Bones  (87m, UK)
Psychological Thriller/DramaZeria  (61m, Belgium)
Mixed-Media / Sci-Fi DystopiaZero Budget Heroes:
The Legend of Chris Seaver & Low Budget Pictures
 (105m, USA)   No-Budget Filmmaking Documentary


Short films from over 25 countries will be screened in 14 programs, as well as before each feature film screening. Titles include: ANIMATED BAZAAR, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, BIRTHING PANGS, COCTEAU LAND, CREATURE FEATURE, INANIMATE MOTION, REEL TERROR, SYMBOLIC ABSTRACTION, TRIPPING BALLS, UNCANNY JOURNEYS, WITCHING HOUR.



Saturday, Jan. 14
Retrospective of Izzy Lee’s short film works, including her most recent, with the Filmmaker in person.

A ubiquitous presence on the festival circuit for the past decade, writer/director Izzy Lee blends genre, humor, and commentary in a strange, unique stew that has led her to be named one of the A.V. Club’s 10 female filmmakers to hire (amongst other accolades). Her award-winning tales have screened at major international genre festivals such as Fantasia, Overlook, Morbido, FrightFest, Fantaspoa, Brooklyn Horror, Boston Sci-Fi, Boston Underground, Chattanooga, and more. In 2022, Lee earned Certificates of Completion from Sundance Collab’s Directing Television, Directing Actors, and Visual Storytelling courses, under Dan Attias, Tessa Blake, and Peter Markham.

Wednesday, Jan. 18
Jan Soldat Retrospective

Jan Soldat is a German filmmaker whose over 100 mostly documentary works to date deal with the depiction of diverse sexual practices and preferences. “Formally, my films have to do with closeness and distance. A scene from a distance has a certain dignity. It enables me to show the protagonists of my films as proud of themselves. If I did too much close-ups, it would be too much for the audience, especially in the painful moments. By trying to keep a distance, the viewer can enter the film without the desire to leave. In “Law and Order,” every scene is framed equally, which makes it more neutral, without the film saying one thing is more important than the other. As a viewer, you have more freedom to decide. That’s why I like it. My films are about authority, control and power. It’s not just about dominance and submission, it’s also about being active and passive. These stories are very abstract in a way; they make what a power relationship is very obvious. Most people say their relationship is not about these things, but I think every relationship is. We have to confront them, call them out for what they are.” —Jan Soldat

“Far from making his films for shock value, Soldat is using the film medium to discover sexualities, relationships, bodies and passion in all of their forms—and in this way, to have another look at what it means to be human.” –IndieWire



Featuring artists performing live scores to accompany the screening of short films by the earliest pioneers of avant-garde cinema, including Man Ray, Han Richter, Paul Leni, Joris Ivens, Fernand Leger, Paul Strand & Charles Sheeler, and James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber.

January 14 @ 10pmShamon Cassette & Gang Wizard

  • Paul Leni – Rebus FIlm No.1 [Shamon Cassette]
  • Man Ray Short Works [Shamon Cassette]
  • Fernand Leger – Ballet Mechanique [Gang Wizard]
  • James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber – Fall of the House of Usher [Gang Wizard]

January 21 @ 10pmSb the Moor & Pablo Swiss 

  • Paul Strand & Charles Sheeler – Manhatta [SB the Moor]
  • Ralph Steiner – H20 [SB the Moor]
  • Hans Richter – Rhythmus 21 [SB the Moor]
  • Joris Ivens – Regen [Pablo Swiss]

(formerly Latinx) Series

Friday January 277:30pm: Gallery Opening: Amina Cruz 8:30pm: QUEER CALIFAS 23, curated by Rubén Esparza, with performers Sebastian Hernandez, Vicente Ugartechea/Transsexual Jesus.Saturday January 28Performance & film screening of The Pandemia Chronicles: A brand new spoken-word monologue & “live-action juke-box” by Guillermo Gómez-Peña & Balitronica Gómez with EmaLee Arroyo aka “Emz Especial.”

The BEHOLD! Queer Film and Performance Series

Curated by Gina Young, Celeste Kamppila, Dino Dinco, and Juan Antonio Fernández  featuring performance and multiple feature and shorts programs that showcase works from and about the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities spread over three curated categories.Fri. February 31-900-BODY-ON-THE-LINE (curated by Celeste Kamppila)Sat. February 4TIGHT: An exploration of the architectures of restriction (curated by Gina Young)Sat. February 11Ecstasy and Reminiscence: Nights Out in Los Angeles (curated by Dino Dinco & Juan Antonio Fernández)


Inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films.” Festival Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly says, “There is a connecting spirit to all of the works in Film Maudit 2.0, each selected to engage a different facet of the cinematic imagination. These radical “cinema-sations” are guaranteed to entertain, challenge the mind and shock the senses.


For 33 years, Highways Performance Space & Gallery has been one of Southern California’s most important non-profit alternative cultural centers, encouraging radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new work in various media. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms. Under the helm of Executive Director, Leo Garcia, Highways has received funding and support from organizations such as The Perenchio Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, Metabolic Studio, California Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Roy Cockrum Foundation.

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