The Special People film screening, followed by Q+A with director: Erica Schreiner

The Special People — Portland Premiere at Clinton Street Theater
Directed by: Erica Schreiner
Running time: 2 hours
Silent with English subtitles

Film Trailer:

In a dark humor vein, the sci-fi experimental art film, The Special People asks you to consider the hypnotic state induced by smart technology and human desire for freedom and authenticity. The audience goes through a hero’s journey while bathing in sparkling storybook sets, an eerie combination of VHS nostalgia and foreboding dilemmas, presented allegorically. The Special People will play for one night only, followed by a Q&A with the director Friday, March 25th at 7PM.

The citizens of a pink forest stare into iridescent cubes and cannot look away. Apple, Bird and Violet manage to break their trance, and indulge in philosophical conversation. They question why they are free while the others are not. They had their voices removed when they were babies so they learn to communicate telepathically. They experience the sensuality of fruit and each other in The Forest, but soon feel it is not enough. The Special People decide to embark on a journey to bring the other citizens of The Forest back to consciousness by attempting to destroy the master cube, guarded by The Overlords. On this journey, the three get separated and Apple must continue the journey alone. She encounters many of The Obstacles along the way and learns if she is to free the citizens of The Forest, she’ll have to sacrifice her life.

Erica Schreiner wrote, directed, and stars in The Special People. She single handedly built elaborate, colorful and sparkling sets in her apartment where she filmed the feature on her VHS camera. This avant garde art film is reminiscent of 1960s experimental cinema like that of Kenneth Anger or Jack Smith. The other actors in this film are her friends. The Special People was produced by Alex Norelli and is a silent film with a musical score by Johnny Dydo of The Johns.

“The Special People is a modern metaphorical battle. Will you wake up or sleep for the rest of your life? Shot in a nostalgic 70s video style, it’s a treat for the eyes!”
–Matthew Silver (performance artist, filmmaker)

“The many playful elements that comprise Erica Schriener’s The Special People coalesce to provide lucky audiences with beautiful and humorous up-close portraits of a society buckling under tech-induced hypnosis. Through a sugary glaze of VHS fuzz, a lush low-fi score that adds a stimulating dimension of whimsy, and a surplus of homemade heart to eclipse the Kuchar brothers’, the writer/director/lead actor Erica’s glitter-and-sequin-drenched Brooklyn apartment serves as the sprawling social tundra that the film’s heroes traverse. Telepathy and empathy both drive the narrative and serve as the character’s interpersonal currency as they meander but never waver from their fact-finding mission. I was left smiling, and would recommend this film to lovers of experiments and Marvel movie enthusiasts alike.”
–Toby Goodshank (musician, The Moldy Peaches)

Erica Schreiner is a New York based video and performance artist. The Special People is her second feature film. Erica Schreiner has presented her work extensively throughout the United States and abroad. In addition to video, Schreiner works in the mediums of writing and performance. Her most recent publication is a collection of video stills entitled The World, published through Themselves Press, 2021. Recent exhibitions, screenings and installations include: screening of Quarantine, Berlin Underground Film Festival (2020); screening of Satori, presented by Millennium Film Workshop and Spectacle Theater, NYC (2020); screening of Help, G Biennale Independent Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia (2021); video installation of BYE DAD, at The Women’s Library in Sydney, Australia (2021).