Calendar of Events › Moab

September 21, 2017


Start: September 21, 2017 7:00 PM
End: September 21, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by David Byars
81 min | 2017 | USA | Not Rated

Post-film Skype Q&A with director David Byars, moderated by David Everett, City Manager of Moab.

In January 2016, armed protestors in Oregon occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to call attention to what they felt was an intrusion by the federal government into their right to make a living. (more…)

August 17, 2017


Start: August 17, 2017 7:00 PM
End: August 17, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Barry Jenkins
111 min | 2016 | USA | Rated R

Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.  (more…)

July 20, 2017

ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone

Start: July 20, 2017 7:00 PM
End: July 20, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Fred Peabody
92 min | 2016 | Canada | Not Rated

Post-film Skype Q&A with director Fred Peabody.

Independent journalists Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi, and others are changing the face of journalism, providing investigative, alternatives to mainstream, corporate news outlets. Greenwald was the lead reporter on the revelations of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Scahill wrote Dirty Wars – the book and Oscar-nominated film on secret U.S. government assassinations. Our cameras follow as they expose government and corporate deception – just as the ground-breaking journalist I.F. Stone did decades ago. (more…)

June 15, 2017


Start: June 15, 2017 7:00 PM
End: June 15, 2017 8:30 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Otto Bell
87 min | 2016 | UK, Mongolia, USA | Rated G
Presented in Kazakh with English subtitles.

Recommended for ages 12+

Step aside, Katniss! Make room for Aisholpan, the 13-year-old eagle huntress from Mongolia.

For 2,000 years, the Kazakh people of the Altai region in western Mongolia have practiced a tradition of hunting with golden eagles, whose wingspan can reach up to 7.5 feet wide. Though this practice has traditionally been the domain of men, Aisholpan decides that she wants to become an apprentice hunter after spending her childhood helping her father, a renowned eagle hunter, care for his birds. Under the tutelage and support of her father and her grandfather—and very few others—Aisholpan learns all aspects of falconry, from taming her very own eagle to training for an annual competition, where she will compete against 70 eagle hunters on her quest to gain acceptance.

Featuring breathtaking cinematography and intimate footage, this film not only explores the life of a young girl striving to pursue her passion and break down gender barriers in a very traditional culture, but also provides an engaging glimpse into the lives of this remote community, as they balance their traditional lifestyle with the modern world.

Official Selection: 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Utah Film Circuit screenings are made possible by the support of

May 25, 2017

A MAN CALLED OVE (En man som heter Ove)

Start: May 25, 2017 7:00 PM
End: May 25, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Hannes Holm
116 min | 2015 | Sweden | PG-13
Presented in Swedish with English subtitles

Cast: Rolf Lassgård, Filip Berg, Ida Engvoll, and Bahar Pars

Stepping from the pages of Fredrik Backman’s international best-selling novel, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave, Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms and we come to understand Ove’s past happiness and heartbreaks. What emerges is a heartwarming tale of unreliable first impressions and the gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it’s shared.

One of Sweden’s biggest locally-produced box office hits ever, director Hannes Holm finds the beating heart of his source material and Swedish star Rolf Lassgård, whose performance won him the Best Actor award at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, affectingly embodies the lovable curmudgeon Ove.

Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film–2017 Academy Awards

“…a breathless movie.” – John Hartl, Seattle Times

“A smooth, methodical black comedy… Hearts will warm, and tears may fall.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“A morbidly funny and moving success. Director Holm’s grip on the film’s tricky, tragicomic tone is masterful.” – Odie Henderson,

“The dopes saying that movies are dead haven’t seen the moving, tender ‘A Man Called Ove.’” – Nick Schager, Village Voice

April 20, 2017

THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble

Start: April 20, 2017 7:00 PM
End: April 20, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Morgan Neville
96 min | 2015 | USA | Rated PG-13

Over the past 16 years, an extraordinary group of musicians has come together to celebrate the universal power of music. Named for the ancient trade route linking Asia, Africa and Europe, The Silk Road Ensemble, an international collective created by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, exemplifies music’s ability to blur geographical boundaries, blend disparate cultures and inspire hope for both artists and audiences.

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, the latest film from the creators of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom and the critically-hailed Best of Enemies, follows an ever-changing lineup of performers drawn from the ensemble’s more than 50 instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution.

Blending performance footage, personal interviews and archival film, director Morgan Neville and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of Silk Road Ensemble mainstays from across the globe to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent and sacrifice. Through these moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind.

Official Selection: 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, 2015 Berlin International Film Festival

Utah Film Circuit screenings are made possible by the support of

March 16, 2017


Start: March 16, 2017 7:00 PM
End: March 16, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Louise Osmond
85 min | 2015 | UK | Rated PG

Set in a former mining village in Wales, Dark Horse is the inspirational true story of a group of friends who decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse. Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the land, before suffering a near fatal accident. Nursed back to health by the love of his owners – for whom he’s become a source of inspiration and hope – he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback.

Winner: Audience Award World Cinema Documentary–2015 Sundance Film Festival; Winner: Best Documentary–2015 British Independent Film Awards

Moab screenings presented in partnership with

Utah Film Circuit screenings are made possible by the support of

February 23, 2017


Start: February 23, 2017 7:00 PM
End: February 23, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Craig Atkinson
70 min | 2016 | USA | Not Rated

Starting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, Do Not Resist offers a stunning look at the current state of policing in America and a glimpse into the future. The Tribeca Film Festival winner for Best Documentary puts viewers in the center of the action—from a ride-along with a South Carolina SWAT team, to inside a police training seminar that teaches the importance of “righteous violence,” to the floor of a congressional hearing on the proliferation of military equipment in small-town police departments—before exploring where controversial new technologies, including predictive policing algorithms could lead the field next.

Winner: Best Documentary2016 Tribeca Film Festival;Official Selection: 2016 AFI Docs, 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

“Craig Atkinson brings the government’s program of channeling military hardware to law enforcement across the nation starkly to light. ” – VARIETY
“Award-winning doc opens your eyes to the complicated world of police militarization. A brutal statement.” – INDIEWIRE

January 19, 2017


Start: January 19, 2017 7:00 PM
End: January 19, 2017 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Nicole Horanyi
90 min | 2015 | Denmark | Not Rated

Presented in English and Dari, Pashtu, Bantu with English subtitles.

Kimberley Motley left her husband and three kids in the US in order to work as a defence lawyer in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the first and only foreign lawyer who litigates in Afghanistan’s courts.

Kimberley is first to admit she came to Afghanistan for the money. But it has become about something else; Kimberley – who had never before left the US – saw how poorly the legal system in Afghanistan was run and how this part of the Afghan society had been totally neglected by the international community.

Since 2008, human rights cases and troubled expats have motivated her to stay, but personal threats, including grenades thrown into the front of her offices, and general conditions in the country, make it harder and harder for Kimberly to continue her work.

Time is running out. Nobody knows what will happen in Afghanistan when the international troops leave. Or, when the risk becomes too high, will Kimberley be able to stay and continue her work for justice?

Winner: Grand Jury Prize–2015 DOC NYC, Best Female Director–2015 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA); Official Selection: 2015 Chicago International Film Festival, 2015 CPH DOX Festival

December 15, 2016


Start: December 15, 2016 7:00 PM
End: December 15, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
119 min | 2015 | Greece | Rated R

Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, John C. Reilly, and Olivia Colman

In this highly imaginative, delightfully absurdist comedy from visionary director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), Colin Farrell stars as David, a man who has just been dumped by his wife. To make matters worse, David lives in a society where single people have 45 days to find true love, or else they are turned into the animal of their choice and released into the woods. David is kept at the mysterious HOTEL while he searches for a new partner, and after several romantic misadventures decides to make a daring escape to abandon this world. He ultimately joins up with a rebel faction known as The Loners, a group founded on a complete rejection of romance. But once there David meets an enigmatic stranger (Rachel Weisz) who stirs up unexpected and strong feelings within him…

At once a full immersion into a strange and surreal world, and a witty and clever reflection of our own society, The Lobster is a thrillingly audacious vision fully brought to life by Lanthimos and his terrific cast. The filmmaker displays a completely singular style and mastery of tone, finding the perfect balance between sharp-edged satire and romantic fable that entertains its audience while also leaving them with lots to reflect on long after the credits have rolled.

Official Selection: 2015 Cannes Film Festival, 2016 Sundance Film Festival

November 17, 2016


Start: November 17, 2016 7:00 PM
End: November 17, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Roger Ross Williams
91 min | 2016 | USA | PG

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, Life, Animated is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.

The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him.

Life, Animated evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.

Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Winner: U.S. Documentary Directing Award–2016 Sundance Film Festival, Audience Award–2016 Full Frame Film Festival, Audience Award–2016 San Francisco International Film Festival

“Deeply moving, a warm testament to a family’s love and resilience.” — Justin Chang, Variety

“A radiant, uplifting story.” — Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter


October 20, 2016


Start: October 20, 2016 7:00 PM
End: October 20, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon
87 min | 2015 | USA | Rated R

In the summer of 1968 television news changed forever. Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley believed each other’s political ideologies were dangerous for America. Like rounds in a heavyweight battle, they pummeled out policy and personal insults—their explosive exchanges devolving into vitriolic name-calling. Live and unscripted, they kept viewers riveted. Ratings for ABC News skyrocketed, and a new era in public discourse was born.

Official Selection: 2015 Sundance Film Festival, 2015 SXSW Film Festival

September 15, 2016

COMPARED TO WHAT: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank

Start: September 15, 2016 7:00 PM
End: September 15, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler
88 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated

*Post-film Q&A with directors of the film and Utahns, Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler.

The film is a profoundly moving portrait of a man who enjoyed a satisfying public career, but lived a private life in turmoil. The rumpled and overweight young man, whose campaign slogan was “Neatness Isn’t Everything,” became one of America’s greatest legislators, wielding his acerbic wit like a wrecking ball.

The film follows Frank as he arrives in Washington with a passion to serve the needs of the working class and the elderly, but facing a changing Congress, where some of its own members begin a decades-long campaign to denigrate the government they served and to destroy our faith in it. Yet Frank surprises us with his optimism, promising to continue to serve and improve our democracy, which he sees as a moral cause.

Through candid interviews, the film allows a shy and lonely man to painfully emerge from behind the very public figure. Frank explains why he felt he could not reveal his sexuality to anyone—even his family—in a world where he felt love songs did not apply to him.

Utilizing a trove of archival footage, the film chronicles Frank’s early career, including his 1987 coming-out and a scandal that nearly destroyed his political career.  Absolved of any serious ethics charges and freed from the constraints of a closeted life, Frank is given the job of defending President Clinton against impeachment as a result of his own sexual scandal.

As did Frank, the film reaches across the aisle through interviews with Republican colleagues. It describes Frank’s significant role in the financial crisis of 2008 and the passage of Dodd/Frank, noting the role of both parties in deregulating the financial industry, but dispelling the myth that the government, and Frank specifically, caused the crash.

Though the use of intimate verité footage of Frank and partner Jim Ready, the film alternates between an often-crotchety public Frank and a softer man, much in love and preparing to marry. The story culminates with the integration of Frank’s private and public lives in exclusive footage of the wedding and of his packing up to leave Congress.

Directed by Sheila Canavan in her directorial debut and Oscar-nominated Michael Chandler.

Winner: Audience AwardFrameline 38 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival; Official Selection: 2014 Damn These Heels Film Festival, 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, 2014 Provincetown Film Festival, 2014 Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, 2014 Napa Valley Film Festival.

August 18, 2016

JANIS: Little Girl Blue

Start: August 18, 2016 7:00 PM
End: August 18, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Amy Berg
103 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated

Janis Joplin is one of the most revered and iconic singers of all time. She electrified and thrilled millions of listeners with her powerful, soulful voice, and blazed new creative trails before her death in 1971 at age 27. With massive hits including “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Piece of My Heart,” and such classic albums as Cheap Thrills and Pearl, Joplin was one of the performers who embodied the musical and cultural revolution of the 1960s.

Yet, her on-stage bravado and uninhibited sexual persona hid hurt and insecurity stemming from her childhood in conservative Texas. On relocating to San Francisco and discovering the blues, Janis found an outlet for her pain and loneliness and fell into a community that would embrace and celebrate her talent.

Oscar®-nominated Amy Berg presents a moving, insightful portrait of the original “Rock Chick” Janis Joplin, a woman with a ferocious, soulful voice who broke into the male-dominated music scene but grappled with her inner demons and addictions.

JANIS: Little Girl Blue brings to life Janis the paradox, both insecure and brazen, with interviews from old band members, unseen audio and video footage (some shot by legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker), and readings from Janis’s letters home to her parents voiced by musician/actor Chan Marshall, who performs as Cat Power. JANIS: Little Girl Blue offers new understanding of a bright, complex woman, whose surprising rise and sudden demise changed music forever.

Official Selection: 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, 2015 Venice Film Festival, 2015 London Film Festival

July 21, 2016


Start: July 21, 2016 7:00 PM
End: July 21, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed Nicholas Hytner
104 min | 2015 | UK | Rated PG-13

Taken from his memoir, Alan Bennett’s story is based on the true story of Miss Shepherd (played by a magnificent Maggie Smith), a woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years. What begins as a begrudged favor becomes a relationship that will change both their lives. Filmed on the street and in the house where Bennett and Miss Shepherd lived all those years, acclaimed director Nicholas Hytner reunites with iconic writer Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George, The History Boys) to bring this rare and touching portrait to the screen.

Nominated: 2016 Golden Globes–Best Actress Comedy or Musical

May 19, 2016


Start: May 19, 2016 7:00 PM
End: May 19, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Jennifer Peedom
96 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated

A fight on Everest? It seemed incredible. But in 2013 news channels around the world reported an ugly brawl at 21,000 ft as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas.

In 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit in a spirit of co-operation and brave optimism. Now climbers and Sherpas were trading insults–even blows. What had happened to the happy, smiling Sherpas and their dedication in getting foreigners to the top of the mountain they hold so sacred?

Determined to explore what was going on, the filmmakers set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing season, from the Sherpas’ point of view. Instead, they captured a tragedy that would change Everest forever.

At 6.45 am on April 18, 2014, a 14 million ton block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. It was the worst tragedy in the history of Everest.

The disaster provoked a drastic reappraisal about the role of the Sherpas in the Everest industry. Sherpa tells the story of how, in the face of fierce opposition, the Sherpas united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma.

Winner: Best Documentary—2015 BFI London Film Festival; Official Selection: 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival

“Rarely are documentaries as powerfully polemic and jaw-gapingly spectacular as Sherpa.”
-Harry Windsor, The Hollywood Reporter

★★★★★ One of the best documentaries I have ever seen.
-Alex Billington,

April 21, 2016


Start: April 21, 2016 7:00 PM
End: April 21, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by Laura Nix and the Yes Men
90 min | 2015 | USA| Not Rated

In celebration of National Poetry Month, this film will be preceded by a Bite-Size Poetry short video that features a notable Utah poet reciting an original poem. Each short is brought to you in collaboration with Utah-Arts-Museums-logo_338x61

For the last 20 years, notorious activists the Yes Men (Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum) have staged outrageous hoaxes to hijack public dialogue worldwide about the issues of the day. In their third cinematic outing (after The Yes Men and The Yes Men Fix The World), they are now well into their 40s, and their mid-life crises are threatening to drive them out of activism forever–even as they prepare to take on the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced, climate change. Frustrated by each other, and worried they can’t make a difference anymore, how can they keep fighting the world’s most urgent threat? Revealing the real people behind the ruses, their latest film is as much a character study as it is a thrilling ride depicting their latest interventions against corporate greed. Following their lives for over four years, The Yes Men Are Revolting reveals their creative process, hilarious strategies, and personal conflicts while they juggle the demands of getting older, holding down jobs, and maintaining some shred of personal lives. From villages in Uganda’s Karamoja region to the toxic oil fields in Canada’s tar sands, these iconoclastic revolutionaries take on big oil, lobbyists, Wall Street, and the USA government, armed with nothing but thrift-store suits and a lack of shame. Overcoming personal obstacles to deliver uproarious actions of global significance, the Yes Men deliver a hopeful message about ordinary people breaking through the paralysis to take back their planet.

Official Selection: 2015 Berlin International Film Festival, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, 2014 DOC NYC

March 17, 2016


Start: March 17, 2016 7:00 PM
End: March 17, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by James Ponsoldt
106 min | 2015 | USA | Rated R

The End Of The Tour tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties, but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other.

Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audiotapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide. Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies’s insightful and heartbreaking screenplay.
Official Selection: 2015 Sundance Film Festival

February 25, 2016


Start: February 25, 2016 7:00 PM
End: February 25, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

New date due to power issues.

Directed by Phillip Baribeau
105 min | 2015 | Canada | Not Rated

Unbranded follows four men and sixteen mustangs on an epic 3,000-mile journey from Mexico to Canada through the American West to inspire adoptions for the 50,000 wild horses and burros in government captivity.

Winner: Audience Award—2015 Hot Docs Film Festival, 2015 Telluride Mountain Film, 2015 Tallgrass Film Festival, 2015 Crested Butte Film Festival

January 21, 2016

TROUBLEMAKERS: The Story of Land Art

Start: January 21, 2016 7:00 PM
End: January 21, 2016 9:00 PM
Venue: Star Hall
159 E. Center St., Moab, UT, 84532
Cost: Free

Directed by James Crump
72 min | 2015 | USA | Not Rated

Troublemakers unearths the history of land art in the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s. The film features a cadre of renegade New York artists that sought to transcend the limitations of painting and sculpture by producing earthworks on a monumental scale in the desolate desert spaces of the American southwest. Today these works remain impressive not only for the sheer audacity of their makers but also for their out-sized ambitions to break free from traditional norms. The film casts these artists in a heroic light, which is exactly how they saw themselves. Iconoclasts who changed the landscape of art forever, these revolutionary, antagonistic creatives risked their careers on radical artistic change and experimentation, and took on the establishment to produce art on their own terms. The film includes rare footage and interviews which unveil the enigmatic lives and careers of storied artists Robert Smithson (Spiral Jetty), Walter De Maria (The Lightning Field) and Michael Heizer (Double Negative); a headstrong troika that established the genre. As the film makes clear, in making works that can never be possessed as an object in a gallery, these troublemakers stand in marked contrast to the hyper-speculative contemporary art world of today.

Troublemakers points out that land art was rife with contradiction and conflict, a site where architecture, landscape, sculpture, technology, archaeology and photography would all converge. Against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Cold War anxieties and other political uncertainties of the nuclear age, land artists often subscribed to a dystopian view of the future that questioned the military-industrial complex, consumerism and the banalities of modern life and culture.

The period was also marked by the release of the first image of the entire earth. Produced by NASA, such images turned the conceptual space of earth into a two-dimensional sphere; an object on which to conceivably draw, design and create. The most compelling land art sites offered viewers a means to imagine and negotiate the scale of the human body with the enormity of our planet. Land artists were exploring a larger canvas to work on while simultaneously seeking to create works that induced awe in the viewer, thus producing a new kind of pilgrimage and a new kind of visceral viewing experience. The film shows how nature performs in these works and alters them over time, sometimes radically reclaiming them, creating an ongoing competitive dialogue between artist and the natural world.

Using original footage produced with helicopters and rare re-mastered vintage footage from the period, Crump’s cinematic journey takes viewers on a thrill ride through the most significant land art sites in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, an immersive and physically transportive experience that movie goers will not forget.

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