USAPaul Festa is a multidisciplinary artist working at the intersection of film, fiction, music, and criticism.
The Juilliard School
The Juilliard School
His films include the widely acclaimed experimental documentaries Apparition of the Eternal Church, about the music of Olivier Messiaen, and Tie It Into My Hand, a series of violin lessons given to the filmmaker by noted non-violinists including Harold Bloom, Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho, and Robert Pinsky. In The Glitter Emergency, an award-winning silent-film comedy, Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes while chasing a peg-leg ballerina up and down the hills of San Francisco.
He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco. His video performance Night of a Thousand Agneses opened MIX NYC 2014, was nominated for the 2015 Berlin Arts Prize, and was banned from the Berlinale Panorama reception.
Performances as violinist and actor include Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and the Center for Performance Research (NYC); Dock 11 and the Alter St.-Matthäus Kirchhof Kapelle (Berlin); Teatro Arriaga (Bilbao); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and North Bay Shakespeare (SF), and MacDowell Downtown (Peterborough, NH). With various collaborators, he gave premieres of Messiaen’s “Fantaisie” for violin and piano throughout the US, including at the Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, on the “Betts” Stradivarius.
He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, as well as voluminous unpublished works of fiction. His essays appear in publications and anthologies including Salon, The Daily Beast, Nerve: The First Ten Years; three editions of the Best Sex Writing anthology, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The New York Times Book Review.
Following scholarship studies at The Juilliard School with Robert Mann, he graduated with distinction in English, honors, and prizes from Yale College. Residencies include Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, and Centre des Récollets. At BCB he has taught courses in literature, philosophy, film production, fiction writing, and music history.