Celebrating Art and Art Makers on Film

Opening on Thursday, October 29 and playing through the weekend, the first Providence Art and Design Film Festival celebrates artistic expression at 24 frames per second.


The inaugural Providence Art and Design Film Festival will be taking over the Cable Car Cinema this weekend! The festival hosts a carefully curated selection of films from around the world that will entertain and educate you on a diverse number of disciplines within the artistic world. Make sure to stick around after the credits roll for Q&A sessions with artists, curators, and professors alike. An opening night reception will be held at the RISD Museum before the first screening this Thursday. The opening film, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, is a revealing documentary on the woman behind one of the world's most well-known collection of modern art and her lasting legacy on the tastes and trends of the current art world.

$25. 5:30pm-7pm. Metcalf Auditorium. 20 North Main Street, Providence. 

Get a look of some of the art world's most prized pieces in stunning detail during Fabergé: A Life of Its Own. Created by Peter Carl Fabergé for the Tsars of Russia, these now-famous Easter gifts are known for their unmatched value and rarity. This documentary goes into the most esteemed art collections to show the painstaking details of these priceless objects.

The late 1960s and early 1970 are notorious for their iconic artistic movements, and Troublemakers devotes itself to an often under appreciated form – land art. Featuring many of the original New York renegade artists, this film explores how a focus on desolate desert spaces and the American Southwest transcended the limitations of painting and sculpture.

A notorious con man is profiled in Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery. With a larger-than-life personality and a total of over $45 million dollars from his frauds, Wolfgang Beltracchi's life and times are chronicled in this gripping documentary that also shows how he almost got away with one of the biggest art scandals in the postwar era.

The first documentary of a double-feature, Maker digs into the maker movement, a DIY subculture based on creating new products from previously unused or discarded materials. This documentary also explores how an environment focused on recycling and reusability is transforming our culture and economy as we know it. Food & Design will be continuing the theme of the intersection of science and art by taking a look inside major food manufacturers and how careful design choices provide major benefits that can go completely unnoticed in our everyday lives.

As Providence gets closer and closer to an ecologically beneficial work of art in India Point Park, the combination of aesthetics and environmental sustainability remains as relevant as ever. Strange & Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island focuses on another marriage of these seemingly disparate concepts. In this documentary, a native of the remote island commissions a modern architect to create art pieces to help a declining fishing industry and geo-tourism. The second feature of this double-billing is Saving Mes Aynak, which shifts attention to the conflict between a Chinese mining company and a band of passionate archeologists over a plot of land holding $100 billion dollars worth of copper. The catch? It happens to be buried underneath a 5,000 year-old Buddhist site containing a vast complex of monasteries, homes, and markets.

At the beginning of 2015, an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris shook the political and journalistic establishments to the core. In Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy, the stories of twelve different political cartoonists from around the world converge to provide a commentary on what it means to sometimes push the limits of humor and representation in order to convey unspeakable truths about our modern times.

Pushing the definition of the term 'documentary,' Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Life is a phantasmagoric and unconventional film that centers around a school in which all enrolled students are trained to be servants. Combining the most striking (and disturbing) conventions of silent film with a hint of  David Lynch, this piece is bound to be unlike anything else shown during the festival.

In the colony of Kathputli in New Delhi, well over two-thousand families of acrobats, painters, magicians and more have lived in a community thriving with many different artistic identities. But when the government sold the land in 2009 to build the city's first skyscraper, many of these performers had to come to terms with the reality of their upcoming eviction. Tomorrow We Disappear follows a puppeteer, a magician, and an acrobat as they question art and tradition's placement in the looming shadow of their country's modernization.

If Peggy Guggenheim were alive in 2015, would she camp out in sub-zero temperatures for Nike Foamposites? Did David Geffen go to his neighborhood PacSun and enter the Yeezy Boost 350 sweepstakes to get them into his private art collection? While we may never know the answers to these valuable questions, it is certainly undeniable that sneaker junkies are some of the most tenacious art collectors on the planet. Sneakerheadz delves into this dedicated subculture, examining how sneakers transformed from shoes primarily designed for physical activity to its own categorization of wearable art.

For a perfect encapsulation of what the Art & Design Festival can offer, look no further than the Shorts Program. This selection of six films from around the world showcases a variety of different artists, mediums, and cultures, providing a perfect panorama of creative inspiration and reflection. The first short, Afripedia, is a visual mixtape of filmmakers, musicians, cultural activists, and more working in Ghana to create a collaborative African artistic perspective.

Following this is Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, the story of an amateur taxidermist that became a Victorian sensation for his whimsical dioramas of anthropomorphic animals. Then see a profile of Rhode Island visual artist and musician Brian Chippendale, founder of the Fort Thunder artist collaborative and prolific Providence noise rock outfit Lightning Bolt. After this are two short portraits on artists David Hockney (David Hockney in the Now: In Six Minutes) and Florentijn Hofman (Florentijn Hofman: Larger Than Life). The program rounds out with Hugh the Hunter, a different kind of doc that weaves the story of Brooklyn-based artist Hugh Hayden with a hunter in the Scottish Highlands in search for an elusive bird, subverting the traditional profile format while providing a narrative on identity and race. 

The last double-feature of the festival concentrates on two films that capture and convey personal and meaningful moments through creativity, although the subject matter couldn't be more different. The first film, Pop-Up Porno, is a series of humiliatingly poignant and poignantly humiliating stories from the horror-filled world of online dating. After that, Station to Station provides a lively portrait of creativity and collaboration across the country, with 62 one-minute films constructed by a vast group of contributors and fellow artists (including iconic musician Patti Smith).