WEST COAST PREMIERE
In her lifetime, Annette Ontell was hardly a household name. For the handful of family and friends who knew her, she was the wise and ferociously funny Jewish matriarch who spent much of her life creating designer dresses for the Park Avenue set. A decade before she passed away at the age of 93, her two grandchildren, filmmakers Elan and Jonathan Bogarin, recorded a series of video interviews with the charismatic Ontell in the modest New Jersey home where she lived for 67 years. Rather than sell the house after her death, Elan and Jonathan decided instead to methodically sift through decades of accumulated clutter from stacks of check stubs and tax forms, unsent Christmas cards and even a stray recording of a family argument.
This highly cinematic archeological dig through the life of their grandmother illuminates her universe in imaginative ways (the Bogarins even have actors lip sync the argument). Throughout their reverie, the Bogarins’ change the focus from Roman libraries to the Rockefellers, providing a meditation on the very notion of archiving itself. Subsumed in a Wes Anderson–esque glow, the talented Bogarins have crafted a wondrous memorial to their grandmother, rescuing her from the undertow of anonymity while probing the dense topography of the 20th century. —Thomas Logoreci
Director Elan Bogarin in person in San Francisco
Elan Bogarin was nominated for the Gotham + Spirit Awards for producing Big Fan which premiered in competition at Sundance. She is the co-director of El Tigre Productions, a digital strategy/production company that creates innovative non-fiction films and content for the world's leading museums and cultural institutions. Clients include MoMA, the Whitney, The Getty, Colec- ción Cisneros, and The New York Times. She co-founded The Wassaic Project, an arts festival/residency program that has hosted thousands of artists.
Jonathan Bogarin was chosen as one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2017. He is the co-director of El Tigre Productions, a bilingual strategy/production company that creates innovative non-fiction films and produces content for the world's leading cultural institutions. Clients include the Whitney Museum, MoMA, The Getty, Colección Cisneros, Museo Reina Sofia, and PEN America. As a strategist, he envisioned and managed the creation of coleccioncisneros.org, the digital hub of Latin American art. He is also a visual artist who creates paintings and social practice artworks throughout the US and Venezuela and has taught at Columbia University, Bank Street College of Education, and Pratt Institute.