2022, U.S., 86 min, DCP, Dir. Jane Schoenbrun, Not Rated, Utopia

We're All Going to the World's Fair

Saturday, June 18

"One of the 15 best movies at Sundance. A tender and intimate teenage journey…a warm hand for those still trying to figure themselves out." —Jourdain Searles, The Hollywood Reporter

"Critic's Pick. An auspicious, wildly smart narrative feature debut…You don't need to be an internet geek to vibe to World's Fair, you just need to be human." —Kate Erbland, Indiewire

Alone in her attic bedroom, teenage Casey (Anna Cobb in a stunning feature debut) becomes immersed in an online role-playing horror game, the World's Fair Challenge. After an initiation, she documents the changes that may or may not be happening to her, adding her experiences to the shuffle of online clips available for the world to see. As she begins to lose herself between dream and reality, a mysterious figure reaches out, claiming to see something special in her uploads.

Originality and ambition have been my favorite qualities of film for forever, with boldness following close behind. If you can capture all three and “remain” in one room as Jane Schoenbrun’s We're All Going to the World's Fair does, you’ve got some serious chops as a director. “The mind can make a heaven out of a hell or a hell out of heaven.” Yeah, and so can the internet. It takes a talent profoundly in touch with the mix of (cinematic) limits and freedom as Schoenbrun to make us feel, fear, sense, dream, and suspect so much while using so little, and showing what the mind, the internet, and cinema can do in harmony together. Add in a tremendous star turn from fellow newcomer Anna Cobb in the lead who convinces us that all could be real, all could be possible – and isn’t that the promise we want from ALL cinema? – Ted Hope

This June at After Hours, experience remarkably distinct non-genre-conforming cinema with a selection of four films curated by guest programmer Ted Hope.

A note from Ted Hope

When we sit down to take in a film, we offer a challenge: go ahead, and blow my mind. Take me somewhere I have never been! Freak me out!! Change me!!! It is an incredible offer we audiences give to the filmmakers, but so few really choose to take us up on it. I think the first time I had a physical reaction to a movie was Eraserhead. It truly got inside me and made me queasy. I was in film school then; I went with a plan to make a very specific film. I storyboarded it and everything, but then one day our teacher screened Jean Cocteau's Blood of a Poet for us—and it was the movie I had been planning to make. I did not understand how that could be as I had no recollection of ever seeing Cocteau's original version; it was if it had been summoned from my dreams. It was the next weekend that I saw Eraserhead and felt more like a nightmare that I had never dreamed than any film I had seen before.

I eventually pieced together the puzzle of how I had seemingly dreamed Cocteau's film, but I was already hooked into a relationship with the cinematically surreal. Despite an extra-large dose of Bunuel, side heapings of Terry Gilliam, and acquiring my own print of Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, I could never satisfy my urge for more of the surreal in modern cinema. I got to make Michel Gondry's first feature Human Nature with Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman, perhaps the trio of most regular contributors to the realm, but again just-not-enough. Some may call all these films in my initial selection “horror,” but I don't think any “horror fans” would. The films here are remarkably distinct non-genre-conforming cinema, and for me, delightfully so.

A note from Brenda Moe

As executive director and programming director I am excited to tell you about In Exhibition With: my newest series where I invite a friend to build a film program for our audience. I am thrilled to unveil a June After Hours takeover, In Exhibition With: Ted Hope - Children of Lynch and The New Surreal.

Ted Hope is one of the most thoughtful, prolific, and involved professionals in film that I am lucky to know. Ted's early years include working with Hal Hartley on The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. As a co-founder of Good Machine and This Is That, Ted produced the first films of Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener, Todd Field, Michel Gondry, Moisés Kaufman, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Ted served as executive director of San Francisco Film Society, and head of production for Amazon Original Movies. He's also a twice published author. Variety says of Ted, “no film exec is better qualified to brainstorm ideas for saving indie films than Ted Hope.” In early emails with Ted, he mentioned that he wanted to create a Lynch-inspired program. I jumped at the chance.

Click above to read program notes.

Check out the rest of our In Exhibition With: Ted Hope - Children of Lynch and The New Surreal program!