St. Francis prof. to share film at BAMKids Fest
Fort Greene Filmmaker’s Short Inspired by NY Public Library
A 9-year-old girl walks in to the New York Public Library and steps out on an alphabetical adventure in the short film “A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure” by Fort Greene filmmaker and St. Francis College Communication Arts Professor Augusta Palmer, which will have its New York theatrical premiere at the BAMkids Film Festival on Feb. 27 (12 p.m.) and Feb. 28 (2 p.m.).
“A is for Aye-Aye” combines live-action and animation with vintage images selected from the New York Public Library Picture Collection to tell an alphabetical adventure. An excerpt of the film is on display at the library until May 15 as part of the centennial celebration “Abacus to Zoology: A Century of Inspiration from the Picture Collection.”
The two-day BAMkids Festival is the first time the public will be able to see the film on a big screen in New York and follows its festival debut at the Children’s Film Festival of Seattle (Jan. 25) and the Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival (Jan. 31).
The A to Z elements of “A is for Aye-Aye” are culled from the more than 1 million image clippings dating back to 1915. Palmer completed the film to time with the collection’s 100th anniversary.
In the film, a young girl brings 100 years’ worth of images to life when she befriends an aye-aye — a lemur from Madagascar — who leaps from the page to lead Iris on an animated journey through myriad collage worlds created entirely from the collection’s holdings.
“I wanted to replicate the sense of wonder I had when I first got a glimpse of the Picture Collection’s breadth and depth over 20 years ago. So it made sense to me to look at it through the eyes of a child in a short film, and to have her conjure these phantasmagorical worlds for each letter of the alphabet,” Palmer said.
Palmer is a filmmaker and scholar best known for “The Hand of Fatima” (2009), a feature documentary about music, mysticism and family history. Her award-winning documentary and experimental video work has screened in national and international festivals, as well as at venues like New York’s Anthology Film Archives. She is an assistant professor of communication arts at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. “A is for Aye-Aye: An Abecedarian Adventure” is her first fiction film.
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