Filmmakers Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, who have been directing films together since the anarcho-punk thriller Empty Metal (2018), join us to present their latest, a riotously imaginative vampire movie created in collaboration with the artist and musician Oba. Nosferasta: First Bite rewinds five centuries of colonial destruction to tell Oba’s origin story: an escapee from a slave ship sailing from West Africa to the Caribbean, he washed ashore only to encounter the vampire’s kiss of a blood-sucking Christopher Columbus. From present-day New York City, Oba recounts his travails as an undead accomplice to imperial conquest in the so-called New World, and how he eventually broke free from Columbus’s spell. Khalil and Sweitzer brilliantly envision the vampire as the ultimate cipher for colonial projects across time; shape-shifting and impossible to contain, who could better embody ravaging violence, human trafficking, and biopolitical control?
Presented in its New York premiere, Nosferasta: First Bite screens with two other films haunted by the marks of history: Peggy Ahwesh’s Alluvium (2015), a visual essay quoting Jalal Toufic, Jean Genet, and H. P. Lovecraft in its evocation of time spent in the Occupied Territory of Palestine; and A I O U (2020), a futuristic gathering together of victims of too-real political violence across history, directed by Khalil, Sweitzer, and Anton Vidokle.