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Tulip Mania

Opened Thursday, April 16

Screening online as part of “Wish We Were Here: Shorts by IFC Center Staff”

Shelby Shaw’s TULIP MANIA (2020) is an experimental video essay on value, access, and infection, with a tongue-in-cheek narrative on how tulipomania in the 17th century had inflated the worth of the arbitrary tulip flower — especially those infected with TBV, a plant virus — until its absurdly high prices finally burst the economic bubble of the Dutch Golden Age. A stoic reflection on viral thinking and commodity using two historical instances of virus, 400 years apart.

While our theater is closed as part of efforts to slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, we’ve taken our signature short film programming online with “Wish We Were Here: Shorts by IFC Center Staff,” a showcase of short documentary, comedy, drama, animated and experimental work by the creators who work as our ushers, floor staff, box office cashiers, managers and projectionists. A different film will be posted to our website every few days, watchable for free. The series is sponsored by subscription streaming service IFC Films Unlimited.

The theater is proud to partner on this new initiative with IFC Films Unlimited, a streaming service from our sister company IFC Films. Although our screens are dark during this temporary closure, IFC Films Unlimited lets audiences discover or revisit hundreds of our favorite films at home or anywhere they can stream, from the movie we opened our doors with, Miranda July’s ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, to IFC Center hits like BOYHOOD, 45 YEARS and THE BABADOOK, along with the work of international auteurs like Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, and many, many more. Free trial subscriptions are available.

“Wish We Were Here” is an evolution of the ongoing “Short Attention Span Cinema” series that was inaugurated with IFC Center’s opening in 2005. Since then, for almost 15 years until our temporary closure on March 13, 2020, SASC has presented great short films before the theater’s regular features, day in and day out. Earlier films in the program are here.

About the filmmaker:

Shelby Shaw is a multidisciplinary artist whose written work has been commissioned by/appears via The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Wendy’s Subway, and others, and she was an invited Researcher at the 31st Images Festival (Toronto, Canada). Shelby is the Operations Coordinator with the programmers of IFC Center, and is the Program Assistant to Projections at the New York Film Festival. Her current research explores whether an image archives or manifests existence.

  • Year 2020
  • Running Time 8 minutes
  • Director Shelby Shaw