Family Ties was a film screening held on May 7, 2023 at the Bronx Brewery. The films included in the screening were The Candle Burns Faster Every Year by Fernando Zelaya, Good Nature by Nick Sansone and Friends Who Fight by Sofie Vasquez.

The Candle Burns Faster Every Year is one of the many branches in Fernando Zelaya’s long term exploration of his family, memories, and loss. Considered a companion piece to a publication of the same name, the film incorporates Hi-8 home videos chronicling a New Year’s Eve party, a night time soccer ball kick about between a father and son, and the ceremonial burning of Christmas candles. Layered over the visuals is a thread of texts written by Zelaya about his looking back on the home videos. Thoughts regarding loss and regret echo throughout this silent film; we are taken on a journey that spans years and wonder about what was, what could have been.

Nick Sansone’s Good Nature is the latest chapter in a multi-year relationship and collaboration with the employees of a bodega in Midtown Manhattan. Initially working as a Coca Cola salesman, Sansone’s relationship with the employees of the bodega was a professional one. As time passed, the bonds grew and that relationship became intimate; the workers grew comfortable with the camera and Nick’s documenting of the daily ongoings, small moments and behind the scenes workings of the bodega. What we find is not just a business that most New Yorkers will find themselves familiar with, but rather a community built up of people from distant backgrounds and histories that have found themselves connected to achieve a common goal. Within the walls lined by snacks, sodas, and Marlboro Reds we come to find a group that laughs together, works together, and even bickers just like any other family.

Friends Who Fight is a film by Sofie Vasquez, an obsessive documentarian of the wrestling scene in NYC. In 2020 Vasquez traveled with wrestlers documenting their travels and day to day life as performers. In 2022 she returned to recording which resulted in this recent cut of the film. We meet two wrestlers, Big Game Leroy and Prince Adam, through interviews. We listen to the struggles, the hopes, and the aspirations of a wrestler; they speak on wrestling the way an artist would about their art making. Through Sofie’s film we are presented a world that might seem violent at first, but instead come to see the beauty and community of wrestling, a space built for collaboration and expression.

All three films, while different in subject and mood, deal with the notion of family. Whether that family is bound by blood, bound by four walls and a common goal, or bound by the ring.
Photo: Nick Sansone