Stranger Than Fiction closed its 2017 Spring Season with Jeff Orlowski’s latest film, Chasing Coral, a powerful reminder of humanity’s connection to each other and our ecosystem. Orlowski grew up in Staten Island and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, which is just over a mile from STF’s home, the IFC Center. The atmosphere was very much a “family screening,” as Orlowski noted in his opening remarks before the film.
Stranger Than Fiction opened its Spring 2017 season with a 50th anniversary screening of the landmark film, A Time for Burning, and a Q&A with its director, Bill Jersey. What followed was not only a master class on a documentary filmmaking, but an exploration of race relations back in 1967 and right now in 2017.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” It’s a traditional narrative, often used today in tawdry soap operas and reality shows. However, the fifth entry in the Winter 2017 STF season, I Called Him Morgan, presented a twist on this tired narrative. The film focuses on the rise and fall of jazz legend Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen Morgan, presenting them as complete individuals who lived difficult and compelling lives. Cycles of collapse and redemption are major themes throughout, reinforced by one of the film’s musicians stating early on that “Lee went as far down as he could go… and then he met Helen.”