ACTOR’S CORNER – VICTORIA THAINE (THE LOVED ONES)
I am an unabashed fan of this film. I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival – all but forcing the programming staff of AFI FEST to see it with me: “Come on! It’s Australian…crazy prom girls with power tools and mirror balls… It’s gotta be great!”
And I was so right on this one. They still freakin’ owe me for leading the way to this demented goodness. We brought it to L.A. for Halloween and now we’ve brought it to Dallas. Happy, happy, “MISERY meets PRETTY IN PINK Aussie-style”, joy, joy. Seriously, Sean Byrne’s little bloody masterpiece is your basic cautionary tale about ignoring the fact that a psychotic high school girl with an equally crazy henchman for a father is crushing out on you before the big dance.
And Victoria Thaine, who plays the girlfriend of said crazy girl’s target dreamy boy does her part to add to the fun by being much more than your standard issue tie a yellow ribbon type while he deals with uhmmm…. things. Because she’s Australian. And beautiful. And she’ll kick ya’ if she has to.
How much training did you do to prepare for the stunts in THE LOVED ONES?
Myself and the girl in hot pink (Robyn McCleavy) had a couple of serious sessions of stunt choreography to prepare for our tussle in the car. It is definitely one of the more fun scenes I’ve ever had to do. It took about four hours to shoot and despite the training, both of us ended up covered in bruises and I had a swollen ankle that had to be attended to by the nurse. Kicking someone in the head while wearing a pretty apricot frock made me feel pretty tough. I’d like to do it again. Not to Robyn, maybe someone else!
What’s the main difference with working with an Australian film crew versus working with an American film crew?
We work much, much faster. There’s no fart-arsing around! I once sat in a trailer for three full days on an American production waiting for my scene to come up and I’m sure that’s not unusual. That would just never happen in Australia. We don’t have the money. I also think Australia film crews are probably very inventive as we cut our teeth on productions with such small budgets that we have to think outside the box. On the best productions there’s a real sense of everyone being in there together – there’s less hierarchy than on American sets.
In order for love to conquer all, does it help to have power tools at your disposal?
I always sleep with a drill under my pillow just in case I need to get my boyfriend to tow the line. A staple gun works too but a drill bit through the penis is better.
Now that Xavier Samuel is going to be part of the TWILIGHT universe, will you feel obligated to actually watch those movies?
It’s pathetic but I’ve now watched the first two films in the TWILIGHT series just to get up to date. Both times were on a long-haul flight under the mild influence of valium and I would highly recommend watching them in this manner. I find it amusing that literally overnight Xavier suddenly had fan pages on the net with paparazzi photos of him at LAX. I’m sure he’ll be fantastic in the film.
What’s your position on road kill?
If you’re going to eat it, braise it for a very, very long time.
THE LOVED ONES screens at the Landmark Magnolia 4 on Friday, April 9 at Midnight and on Sunday, April 11 at 10:00PM.
DALLAS INTL FILM FEST Announces Frank Darabont DALLAS Star Award Honoree, $200K Challenge Grant matched
THE 2010 DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCES FRANK DARABONT
AS DALLAS STAR AWARD HONOREE
DALLAS FILM SOCIETY MATCHES $200K CHALLENGE GRANT
HORROR THRILLER “WALKING DISTANCE” ADDED TO DALLAS IFF LINEUP
DALLAS, TX, April 7, 2010 – The DALLAS International Film Festival (April 8 – 18) announced Academy Award nominee Frank Darabont as a recipient of the DALLAS Star Award. Mel House’s’ horror thriller WALKING DISTANCE joins the film festival’s lineup and the Dallas Film Society announced the organization has received a $200,000 challenge grant.
At a time when most film festivals are content, if not relieved, to roll out their film program and events as scheduled, the DALLAS IFF staff has continued to announce additional honorees and highlighted films to the Film Festival leading up to the eve of the anticipated Opening Night Gala celebration encompassing the entire Angelika Film Center and all of its screens on Thursday, April 8.
Darabont will receive the DALLAS Shining Star Award during “The Dallas Film Society Honors” presented by the Gail L. & Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation event on Friday, April 16 at Hotel Palomar. DALLAS IFF will also screen one of Darabont’s films followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker on Saturday 4/17 at the Studio Movie Grill.
Nominated for an Academy Award (for Best Screenplay Adaptation) for the classic THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994) and twice nominated (Best Picture and Best Screenplay Adaptation) for THE GREEN MILE (1999), Darabont’s work as both writer and director for those films as well as for THE MAJESTIC (2001) and THE MIST (2007) have placed him in elite company within the filmmaking community. Darabont is currently at work on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
“It has been our desire to honor Frank Darabont since the inception of our Film Festival four years ago,” said Dallas Film Society Chairman Michael Cain. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate the work of such an accomplished filmmaker, one responsible for undisputed classics. We are excited that the timing worked out for the DALLAS IFF and Dallas film fans this year. ”
Added to the DALLAS IFF lineup of films is Mel House’s horror thriller WALKING DISTANCE. Focusing on a small neighborhood community where everything is safely within walking distance, the inhabitants discover that the pastoral surface conceals a dark past and an even darker secret. As a group of individuals – each with their own ties and agendas with the town and each other – converges on the enclave, strange things begin to happen.
The film features an impressive lineup of stars including Denton Blane Everett, Glenn Morshower (24, TRANSFORME: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN), Katie Featherston (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY), Kathy Lamkin (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) Debbie Rochon (AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), Shannon Lark (Fangoria Spooksmodel) and classic horror icons Reggie Bannister (PHANTASM) and Adrienne King (making her first major big screen appearance since the original FRIDAY THE 13TH). Producer James LaMarr, House, Morshower, King and Lark will all appear at the film’s screening on Thursday, April 15 at the Landmark Magnolia and participate in a Q&A afterward.
The Dallas Film Society announced that it has successfully matched a challenge grant of $200,000 from an anonymous donor that launched on February 17 and ran through April 1. This was a dollar for dollar match that allowed DFS to maximize the benefits of receiving $400,000. In the changing landscape of the way the funds to support film festivals are generated, the sea of support via Dallas Film Society memberships and outright donations allows DALLAS IFF and DFS to take a major step toward being an event (and year-round organization) that is supported and sustained by a film going and film loving community.
Dallas Film Society President and CEO Tanya Foster said, “While notable sponsors such as Target, Southwest Airlines, TXU Energy, Brierley+Partners and other corporate sponsors are still a vital part of DALLAS IFF, the success of this challenge grant emphasizes that this really is Dallas’ film festival. We are thrilled with the individual donations and the support our community shows.”
Dallas Film Society donations and memberships include:
LEGACY – $100,000
Ruth O’Donnell Mutch
VISIONARY – $25,000
Nancy M. Dedman
A-LIST – $15,000
Kacy & Carter Tolleson
SILVER SCREEN – $10,000
Diane & Hal Brierley
Melina & Michael Cain
Trammell S. Crow
Joy & Ronald Mankoff
Lynn & Allan McBee
Nancy C. Rogers
ICON – $5000
Andrea & Scott Helbing
Margaret & Glenn Solomon
KD Studio – Actors Conservatory
STAR – $2,500
Mary Bell & Brad Hatcher
Gwenna & Don Brush
Waverly Deans & David Smith
Joe Dishner & Ruth Anne Murdock
Alison & Bob Farrow
Tanya & Pete Foster
Good Earth, Inc.
Richard A. Illmer/Brown McCarroll LLP
Sharon & R. Michael Jones
Katherine & Chris LaLonde
Last Asylum Entertainment
Carol & John Levy
Sarah & Alan Losinger
Christine & Bob McKenny
Alice & Erle Nye
Lisa & Marvin Singleton
Jackie & Peter Stewart
Anne & Steven Stodghill
Julie & Alan Tompkins
Dell Perot Systems
Beth & Rick Wilbins
Jenny & Lynn Wolf
The DALLAS International Film Festival will run April 8 – 18, 2010. Passes and tickets are currently on sale both via online (www.dallasfilm.org <http://www.dallasfilm.org/> ), and at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Window located at 5330 Mockingbird Lane on the Hotel Palomar retail strip facing Mockingbird Lane (214.295.5142).
THE 2010 DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES
AMBER HEARD AS THE FIRST RECIPIENT OF THE DALLAS SHINING STAR AWARD
FILMMAKER PANELS PARTICIPANTS INCLUDE KAREN BLACK, GARRY BROWN, DOUG JONES, JEFF LIPSKY, STEPHEN NEMETH, NEVILLE PAGE
LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS STARRER “TRANSPARENCY” ADDED TO DALLAS IFF LINEUP
DALLAS, TX, April 6, 2010 – DALLAS International Film Festival (April 8 – 18) announced Amber Heard as the first recipient of the DALLAS Shining Star Award. The lineups for the DALLAS IFF Talk/Show panels and Film Industry Speakeasy panels with stars, filmmakers and industry veterans such as Karen Black, Garry Brown, Doug Jones, Jeff Lipsky, Stephen Nemeth and Neville Page were also announced along with the addition of Raul Inglis’ TRANSPARENCY starring Lou Diamond Phillips.
Heard will receive the DALLAS Shining Star Award prior to the screening of her film THE JONESES on Saturday, April 10 at The Angelika Film Center. The award was created with an eye toward celebrating actors, filmmakers and film artists who have delivered exceptional performances or works on film in their brief careers as well as exhibiting the potential for greater achievements to come.
Heard will be seen in two films screening at DALLAS IFF: Derrick Borte’s THE JONESES and Matthew Leutwyler’s THE RIVER WHY. Last year, she starred in Nelson McCormick’s remake of THE STEPFATHER with Penn Badgely and made a memorable cameo in Ruben Fleischer’s hit horror-comedy ZOMBIELAND opposite Jesse Eisenberg. The prolific actress broke out in 2008 starring in David Gordon Green’s PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and Jeff Wadlow’s NEVER BACK DOWN. Prior films include Nick Cassavetes’ ALPHA DOG, Niki Caro’s NORTH COUNTRY and Peter Berg’s and Josh Pate’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Upcoming projects include Bruce Robinson’s THE RUM DIARY with Johnny Depp, John Carpenter’s THE WARD, and Marcos Efron’s AND SOON THE DARKNESS, which she co-produced. Heard is currently at work on Patrick Lussier’s DRIVE ANGRY opposite Nicolas Cage.
“We couldn’t have found a better person to receive the inaugural DALLAS Shining Star Award,” said DALLAS IFF Artistic Director James Faust. “Amber has put together an incredible string of films in a few short years, and is obviously just getting warmed up. We know that we’ll be able to proudly say we were among the first to officially recognize what was on the horizon for Amber Heard.”
DALLAS IFF also announced the 2010 slate of Talk/Show filmmaker panels presented by The Studios at Las Colinas held at the Nasher Sculpture Center and Film Industry Speakeasy panels presented by the Texas Film Commission at the patio at Central 214 in the Hotel Palomar.
Free to the public, the panel participants are a diverse collection of film legends, veterans and personalities including noted actors like Karen Black (FIVE EASY PIECES, AIRPORT 1975) and Doug Jones (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABRYNTH); special “creatures” effects master Neville Page (AVATAR, STAR TREK); producers Stephen Nemeth (CLIMATE REFUGEES, FIELDS OF FUEL) and Garry Brown (“Prison Break”); and film distribution legend and film director Jeff Lipsky (SenArt Entertainment, FLANNEL PAJAMAS).
Justin Muller, Head of The Studios at Las Colinas said, “DALLAS IFF has built a reputation for putting together an amazing slate of film discussions on hot-button issues and film industry talks that go beyond the typical ‘How to make movies?’ approach. The Studios at Las Colinas shares an enthusiasm for that innovative and exciting approach to education and moviemaking and we are pleased to support this series of panels.”
Another late add to the DALLAS IFF slate of films is Raul Inglis’ TRANSPARENCY. The action thriller follows the events after an ATF bust uncovers more than the agents bargained on. The film stars Lou Diamond Phillips, Estella Warren and Deborah Kara Unger. Phillips will appear at DALLAS IFF with the film.
DALLAS IFF Talk/Show panels presented by Justin Muller and The Studios at Las Colinas:
Saturday, April 10
NAVIGATING THE SEAS OF FILMMAKING AND DISTRIBUTION: How to make your movie, get it seen, and make a living at it.
A comprehensive, deep discussion of the process of making your film and making a living by doing it. We’ll look at the issues and hurdles independent filmmakers have to deal with today – financing, packaging, and selling a feature film.
MODERATOR: John Wildman (DALLAS IFF)
GUEST: Mark Anker (WME Independent)
GUEST: Aaron Hillis (Benten Films)
GUEST: Jeff Lipsky (SenArt Entertainment)
GUEST: Doug Mankoff (THE JONESES, BEFORE THE RAINS)
THE WEB AND FILMMAKING: Is filmmaking and creativity wasted on the web?
The explosion of affordable consumer grade cameras coupled with sites like YOU TUBE, or BREAK saw the rise of a plethora of would-be web impresarios, each shooting, posting, and reposting minute long clips with the goal of becoming viral video superstars. These short, one-off viral mega hits have driven interest in original content for the web, yet with the exception of a few stand outs, sustainable success with serialized content has proven elusive. With the introduction of a new wave in technology – from hi-def, web-based players to cheaper higher quality cameras – as well as an increasing savvy on the part of web-viewers we may be approaching a watershed moment. Is the web a viable outlet for creative, original content? Is there a market for a web series with high production values or will the net be forever dominated by videos of dancing kittens, crazy karaoke, and over medicated toddlers? What role does niche programming play in creating a web-based phenomenon? Is it possible to make a living with content designed specifically for the web, and, if that is the case will we one day wake up in a world where television is obsolete?
MODERATOR: Matt Bolish (DALLAS IFF)
GUEST: Joy Gohring (Date A Human.com)
GUEST: Justin Muller (“Dream Factory”, The Studios at Las Colinas)
GUEST: Nicholas Robinson (Vuguru)
GUEST: Jessica Rose (“Lonely Girl 15”)
GUEST: Tina Santomauro (Atom.com)
CALL TO ACTION DOCUMENTARIES: Do they make a difference?
In the past decade, documentary films have been finding their way into our megaplexes in increasing numbers. With film such as Louie Psihoyos’s THE COVE or Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 9/11 grossing millions in box office revenue, docs have successfully moved from the film festival circuit and specialty theater screenings and into a place of national awareness. But for many documentary films and filmmakers, the purpose of the work is not simply to generate revenue and entertain, rather to inspire, to indict, or otherwise shine a light onto topics, people, and issues they deem relevant. By what process, if any, can a filmmaker use the goodwill (or ill as the case may be) to influence the world outside of the theater after the credits have rolled? How can a film motivate an audience to transform from passive consumers of entertainment to become educated, concerned individuals and is a call to action documentary a failure if it does not ultimately lead to this transformation?
MODERATOR: Chris Vognar (Dallas Morning News)
GUEST: Melina McKinnon (TOREY’S DISTRACTION, Filmanthropy)
GUEST: Alison Ellwood (CASINO JACK)
GUEST: Stephen Nemeth (CLIMATE REFUGEES)
Sunday, April 11
CREATURE FEATURE: Breathing life into movie monsters
In a world where whole planets can be constructed on a computer screen it seems like we are entering a period where anything we can imagine is possible. But before the digital landscapes of AVATAR and the blood soaked battlefields of THE LORD OF THE RINGS creature effects were the sole purview of a select fraternity of artists. As digital technology becomes an even more powerful force in shaping the imaginary worlds of the movies, the role of the creature effects makeup artist may be in a state of flux. Join us for a conversation on the state of the art as we discuss the changing landscape of creature effects, the future of the business, and the role of the physical effect in an increasingly digital world.
MODERATOR: Mark Walters (BigFanBoy.com)
GUEST: Rob Hall (LAID TO REST)
GUEST: Doug Jones (HELLBOY, LEGION)
GUEST: Clay Liford (EARTHLING)
GUEST: Neville Page (AVATAR, STAR TREK)
BOOK TO SCREEN: Adaptation beyond the page, the real challenges.
As long as there has been a film industry, there have been adaptations of previous works. Plays, novels, poems, short stories, comic books, and lately even earlier films have all been repackaged for contemporary audiences. Looking beyond the art of interpreting the written word from one medium to another – from novel to screenplay for example – what are the mechanics of creating a fully realized world on screen that had previously existed in the hearts and minds of possibly millions of individuals. What are the challenges in recreating the magic or inspiration from the original work to the screen whether it be casting the perfect hero to crafting a space faring fighter plane? How do creators, be they writers, directors, actors, and editors deal with the very delicate business of both “staying true” as well as properly exploiting a very different medium.
MODERATOR: Robert Wilonsky (The Dallas Observer)
GUEST: Dayan Ballweg (THE TORTILLA CURTAIN)
GUEST: Will Clark (Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles)
GUEST: Tim McCanlies (ALABAMA MOON, IRON GIANT)
MUSIC IN THE MOVIES: What’s Driving the Drama?
Music can make or break a film. How many of the great films lack an equally powerful score (Try imagining STAR WARS without John Williams, or VERTIGO without Bernard Herrmann)? Music is a tool that when used in concert with image can invoke powerful emotions that go far beyond words on a page, emotions that hit us deep in our core. But in recent years some motion pictures have been criticized for leaning too heavily on music. Instead of underscoring action, film music is used as a form of short hand, telling the audience “be scared,” “feel bad,” or “fall in love.” As we assess the role of music in film today, what does it say about a film and their audiences when scores turn into cheat sheets, and compositions become crutches? Where can we find a balance between too much and too little?
MODERATOR: Robert Wilonsky (The Dallas Observer)
GUEST: Bubba Kadane (Bedhead)
GUEST: Bob Byington (HARMONY AND ME)
GUEST: Peter Rosen (A SURPRISE IN TEXAS)
GUEST: Neil Truglio (WE ARE THE SEA)
Film Industry Speakeasy Panels presented by the Texas Film Commission:
Monday, April 12
A Conversation with Karen Black
MODERATOR: Chase Whale (Gordon and the Whale)
*Guests interested in attending this luncheon must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. This luncheon is a special presentation by Women In Film.Dallas
Are JR and Sue Ellen Back? The new film revival in Dallas.
Why are so many projects shooting here and what you can do to be next?
MODERATOR AND GUESTS: TBD
Tuesday, April 13
A Conversation With Garry Brown
MODERATOR: Paul Salfen (944 Magazine)
Wednesday, April 14
Why Are You Being So Dumb About Your Movie?
A Frank Discussion of Film Festivals, Self Promotion, and Standing Out
MODERATOR: John Wildman (DALLAS IFF)
GUEST: Christian Gaines (Imdb/Withoutabox)
GUEST: Heidi Van Lier (CHI GIRL)
Thursday, April 15
Film Festival Coverage
Criticism and Coverage from the film festival front lines – What matters and what doesn’t?
MODERATOR: Peter Simek (D Magazine)
GUEST: Todd Gilchrist (Cinematical)
GUEST: Jen Yamato (Movies.com)
GUEST: Kim Voynar (Movie City News)
The DALLAS International Film Festival will run April 8 – 18, 2010. Passes and tickets are currently on sale both via online (www.dallasfilm.org <http://www.dallasfilm.org/> ), and at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Window located at 5330 Mockingbird Lane on the Hotel Palomar retail strip facing Mockingbird Lane (214.295.5142).
I get a really late start due to it taking me forever to write and transcribe everything from yesterday and last night and the fact that AMER damn near sucked the very life out of me. So I get to the convention center and hop in a car with Farah that’s on the way to take writer/director pal to Lamar so she can introduce a film playing there. It’s taking forever because of traffic and she’s doing a controlled freak out worried that she’ll be late. I’m also pretty sure that “Lamar” is derived from a Latin word meaning “maybe located in a different state, entirely.”
Sitting in the backseat with me is Liza Ledford from the Chesapeake Film Festival here at SXSW doing the film hunt for that cool little film fest. I circle some films to consider on the handy fest grid and we do some talk shop in between watching Farah play Crazy Taxi with our lives.
We do get there in time because Farah’s good like that and now we have one of those improv moments because I had intended on seeing WINTER’S BONE but it is full, so instead we duck into…
AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE is a thorough, probing and entertaining look at monologist Spalding Gray by…Spalding Gray. Comprised of a wealth of material from his shows, televised interviews and home movies, it is another example of how (in more than a few cases) completely and deeply we can capture someone’s life these days thanks to video cameras being trained on us.
Now, before I go any further I do want to disclose that I had never seen any of Gray’s stage performances or the films. I was well aware of him and had seen portions or clips from the shows but that was it. So this is a case of getting a view from the relatively uninitiated.
And I really liked it.
The film takes the approach of Gray discussing his life through the myriad of clips chronologically from boyhood memories through discovering and focusing his talent to the birth of his children. It’s a very effective approach as it gives the audience member that intuitive gauge as to where all of this is going. And when you have maybe the ultimate in a “talking head” movie – that is priceless.
The movie is nothing but alternately whimsical, hilarious, difficult, and bone-on-bone harsh revelations, but for me the thing that really stuck was Gray speaking about the fact that he enjoyed the reflection on his life more than living it in the first place. That crystallizes what this film illustrates wonderfully. I have to think if you were/are a fan then it’s a home run for you and if he’s a new discovery, then it’s a definitive introduction.
After a quick trip back to the house so Farah can change into nighttime party wear and I can sneak some writing in, we’re back in business dividing and conquering with me getting in line early for ELEKTRA LUXX at the Paramount and Farah headed to some amazing house party thing for the Marfa Film Fest to pollinate on behalf of a film she exec produced.
But let’s take a moment for a couple quick screener reviews…
Will Canon’s BROTHERHOOD is a high octane dark comedy that teases you throughout the film that it just may forget about that comedy thing altogether. From the first tense moments of a fraternity pledge hazing prank involving making the pledges hold up a convenience store that goes very, very wrong to the end of the film, Canon and writer Doug Simon add disaster scenario on top of disaster scenario before the prior ones have any opportunity to get solved or fixed.
The main players are Jon Foster as the fraternity leader trying to keep a lid on everything and do damage control for the frat at any cost and Trevor Morgan as the pledge who holds the key for ending the madness. And it’s their combined intensity that provides the balance for the action that easily could collapse on itself in a farcical overreach. Yet doesn’t.
The two young men are involved in a continual negotiation stance even as they try to make sense of the events and rationalize their judgment calls that quite literally could mean life or death of the fraternity OR one of he pledges. It’s an exhilarating jenga game of a movie and ultimately, the fun of it lies in the fact that both the onscreen life and the creative entities behind it share an audacity that can’t help but pull you in.
RED, WHITE & BLUE
Written and directed by Simon Rumley, RED WHITE & BLUE is a harsh upon harsh drama that has a unpleasant flirtation with a torture porn sensibility. A young woman makes a habit of sleeping with as many men as she can find, then immediately rejecting them. Meanwhile, a rough country-type (played by Noah Taylor) takes it upon himself to be her friend and guardian. It’s a difficult concept for her, but the two begin to make inroads toward a real, yet tentative friendship.
Of course, that fleeting glimmer of happiness or even contentment doesn’t wash in a film like this and one of her slash-and-burn sexual romps comes back at her with a vengeance. And in a film like this, vengeance begets more vengeance.
The dilemma I have with weighing in on this film is the feeling that while it is well done in my opinion – and Noah Taylor is great in this thing – I don’t know who exactly I recommend the film to. Because it is not a pleasant ride. At any point. In any way, shape or form. It’s like a Todd Solondz movie in that respect. Kind of like a “Life sucks and then it sucks even worse and tragically because none of us are worthy of redemption or forgiveness in any earthly way” genre. The film is true to what it is and accomplishes what you would have to think it wants to achieve and while I can appreciate it and laud it on that level, you really (and I mean, really) have to be in the mood for it or expressly seeking it out. And I know those people are out there. So, if you are one of those people, then you’ll be into RED WHITE & BLUE.
And now back to the line I’m standing in for ELEKTRA LUXX…
Here’s a film festival reality moment: A guy plops down on the sidewalk and spreads out a Subway-type wrapper like a mini-wax paper picnic blanket in the shadow of three little done-up Austin party girls. He doesn’t care. There are priorities. And like rock-paper-scissors, meatball sub wins over tight tube dress.
Behind me, an off-duty volunteer gives a fine oratory on how she is totally above approaching any of the stars when they are eating and stuff because, “I mean, like what am I going to say, right?” She would much rather focus on her screenplay. True story.
The publicist comes by and lets me know there is a possibility I’ll get to interview a couple of the stars, Carla Gugino, Malin Ackerman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, etc. tomorrow, That would be an unexpected bonus. Meanwhile, a green bull with a money clip for a nose ring makes an appearance outside the theater before making a bee-line for the bar across the street.
After a bit, I’m joined by journalist/producer Don Lewis (I’m not too sure how comfortably that hyphenate wears with him yet, but I think it’s fun) and pretty soon we’re in the door. Red bowtie people guard the reserved sections and the place fills up quick. As we wait for the movie to start, Don informs me that he’s playing Words With Friends with Belladonna’s husband. Interesting….
Written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, ELEKTRA LUXX is the second in a planned trilogy of films, following WOMEN IN TROUBLE. Which I did not see. So, I was flying a little blind on this one. However, I knew enough to know that the film focuses on the title character, played by the always good and under-appreciated Carla Gugino. ‘Elektra’ is a retired porn star that’s got a baby on the way and a new career as a community school teacher in progress.
The film is candy coated fun personified with Gugino joined by a cup-runneth-over cast including Timothy Olyphant, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Malin Akerman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Kathleen Quinlan, Justin Kirk, Marley Shelton, Emma Bell and Vincent Kartheiser among others.
There are multiple storylines revolving around the ‘Elektra’ character and narrated by Gordon-Levitt’s ‘Burt Rodriguez’ porn reviewer and blogger character. And I also want to single out Adrianne Palicki’s role of a dim porn star who shouldn’t have anywhere close to the figure she has based on the comedy scenery that she feats on. Really fun.
Now, here’s the deal: I was loving this film and having all kinds of fun with it when the screen suddenly went black.
Yeah. Film festival disaster. So I can’t finish the review since I didn’t see the last ten or fifteen minutes of the movie. Which sucks because I want to give me the popcorn seal of approval. But I can’t really.
However, let’s talk about what happened…
So there are big time technical difficulties and after a few moments of the audio version of the movie, someone finally stops the thing. And the crowd is doing that milling about and hyperactive chatter, “What’s going on?” “Oh, this is terrible!” blah, blah, blah, thing.
But it takes forever for someone to take the stage and calm the natives. And that person bails as soon as they got up there and the audience is left to their devices again.
Until finally, FINALLY, Sebastian Gutierrez takes the stage and says the truth is he simply didn’t have the funds to finish the film and he just didn’t know how to break it to the stars that were here tonight. Funny. Big laugh. And his winning reaction to this snafu transforms what has to suck to high heaven for him into a moment where he had to have gained a roomful of fans. He started giving tips as to what was to come at the end of the film. He starts taking questions from the crowd – joking, teasing, off-hand comments – now, he’s killing and I’m thinking he’ll have a tour of stand-up engagement across the country booked by the time they fire up the projector again.
Festival head Janet Pierson arrives and we’re told they’re working on it and they bring Carla and Malin and the other pretty cast members up on stage. Apparently no male cast members could make the party – but who need them, right?
Some twenty minutes later the bad news comes. No end of the film for us. We’re told that they’ll twitter all of us to let us know when we’ll get to see it which doesn’t really add up to me, but sometimes stuff like this happens. At AFI FEST during the Closing Night Gala a couple years ago, we had an alarm that went off at the ArcLight and it took forever to turn it off. Frankly, that was a huge lesson in “Contingency Plans 101”. And now, Janet and her crew got their stinger. But, as witnessed by adjustments they made both going into their first year and then from last year to this one – they are quick, quick learners and ultimately it will be a hiccup.
In the meantime, I’ll be buying some tickets for Sebastian Gutierrez – Live!
I wake up – not as early as I had hoped and with not a lot of time to get to my CHERRY interviews this morning. So with Farah giving me directions on the phone as I drive, I make my way back to the convention center or as I think of it – home base.
I get to the restaurant where they’re doing the interviews and the publicist gives me the production notes verbally like they used to do it when Indian tribes had press junkets and just repeated the production notes from generation to generation. I sit down and get my video camera ready – which I use to transcribe only – I’m just visual that way – and of course, I notice the battery is about to buy it in the crossfire. Crap. I have 23 minutes of recording time. Oh, and I’ve just been informed that I will be interviewing the director, Jeffrey Fine, and stars Kyle Gallner and Brittany Robertson separately when I was thinking and prepared to do them as a group. Double crap.
JW: We’ll start with the obvious stuff first. How did you get involved with this project?
BR: I was originally given the script in March, 2008 and my manager said, “It’s a really good part for you.” And I was supposed to go in and meet with Jeffrey Fine but I wasn’t able to because of other projects at the time. Then they asked if I wanted to come in and do chemistry read with Kyle. And I said, “Sure.” I had actually known Kyle for years. And he’s a great actor and fun. And it went great but I looked very young and meek in that audition, so they said, “Can you come back in and look a little tougher?” So I came back in and I wore a short black bob with different color hair and piercings sort of like the character in the movie and they said, “Okay, we buy it.” Then we started rehearsing a few weeks later and then went to Michigan and started shooting.
JW: You’ve been Ms. Work here for a little while. So, as you’re doing that, going from project to project to project, are you just happy that’s happening or do you actually think to yourself that it would be nice to have a little time off?
BR: I actually had never thought about that up until three weeks ago. I have been working as the lead in a show for six months straight with long days. So I was ready for some time off. Oh, and that last few weeks I was deathly ill, I had some kind of flu and I couldn’t get rid of it. So I was like, “I need to get better A, and sleep B and just conk out for a few days.” So coming here to Austin couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s kind of like a vacation, but still being able to work, you know?
JW: Let’s talk about that. The SXSW experience or film festival experiences in general. Have you come here before or gone to other festivals?
BR: I was supposed to go to this past Sundance…
JW: For MOTHER AND CHILD?
BR: Yes. But I wasn’t able to because I was working. And I’ve been to South By Southwest before because I was shooting a pilot nearby but I didn’t have a film at the festival.
JW: Okay. So you have a film at the festival and there’s all kinds of hoopla and fanfare on the streets last night and you’re one of the chosen people because you’re starring in a film here. What’s that like?
BR: It’s cool. We went out after the movie premiered and had a good time and talked about things and then I said, “Okay, you have a great time. I’m going back to my to sleep,” and of course passed out five minutes after I got there. I love seeing the films and the new music and everything, I’m just not huge on going out to the bars and clubs. Not really my thing.
JW: And what about the other side – you have to do the press stuff: interviews and junkets. And, let’s face it, you’re a youngster. Is this part fun for you?
BR: Yeah, it’s cool. It’s not like I’m working and I like talking to people. It’s exciting, it’s fun.
JW: This year you have CHERRY and MOTHER AND CHILD. What’s the difference for you as you talk about the films and your roles in them?
BR: My part in MOTHER AND CHILD is a little more minor than this one because it’s a big ensemble cast. But it’s the best of both worlds because the opportunities on MOTHER AND CHILD working with that cast, you just want to jump onboard and just be a part of it and then you have this film and I’m so passionate about it because it’s been such a big part of me and we worked so hard to make the film. So, yeah you have one where you’ve worked so hard to do it and other you just want to be a part of. I’m really grateful for both projects and how well they’re doing and being perceived.
JW: When I came in, I asked the publicist, “I want to make sure that I’m not an idiot. Is this definitely contemporary because there is this timeless, maybe even throwback aspect to it? Because I couldn’t quite place it.
JF: That’s a very reasonable question. Because I didn’t graduate from college five years ago. So, for me I consciously didn’t have people with I pods or I phones or texting. And that was a conscious decision because I wanted to pare things away and focus on the characters. And there was sort of a nod to a period with a little nostalgia. The ‘Linda’ character (the single mom) has an older car and the furniture in her place – there’s a reality of the economics in her world: she has great taste but she doesn’t have money to buy high-end stuff, she’s going to go to flea markets and drive an old clunker. I wanted her world to reflect someone with taste and style that bought all her stuff for five bucks.
And I DID want the college campus to feel sort of universally old school and frankly you go to a lot of these campuses and you do feel that they live in their own little bubble. When we found Kalamazoo College to film, we were looking for something that had an Ivy League feel to it. And the minute you walk onto that campus – well, we didn’t have to do anything.
JW: This is your feature debut?
JF: I made a feature when I came out of SC, like a year later. And then I had some opportunities with documentaries…
JW: Exactly – the doc stuff…
JF: I did a lot of doc work and this story kept kind of resurfacing. And I found myself on planes heading all over the country and going to Europe and the story kept coming back to me so I started writing the scenes…
JW: I ask because, for myself, having worked with film festivals for a few years now (and one of the reasons I trumpet the films I have at these festivals), is that films like CHERRY strike me as films that “had to be made.” A filmmaker just had to make them, just had to get it out and that’s why it exists. Because, if they had to go through the other system or left to the rote designs, it just wouldn’t happen. So how tough was it for you to get this one made?
JF: It was extremely tough. I had a lot of support. Sam Kitt, one of our producers was with Spike Lee’s company and that’s where he read CHERRY. We flirted with a lot of different models to get it done. And there was this other producer that read the script, and he wanted to have a meeting, and he said, “I’d like to buy this script.” And I said, “Great! When will we make it?” And he said, “We can start making it in a year but you won’t be directing.” And he really wanted to do a super A-list talent and he probably would have changed the material and I could see the writing on the wall. And I just knew it wouldn’t end up being this film. It was a long, long process and we had some flirtations with other cast members, actresses, etc. but at a certain point Sam and I decided to just set a time and do it. And the other great thing was that my brother came on board. He’s not a filmmaker but an artist and a businessman and he thought he could raise some money, which he did. And we figured out a way to get it done for the amount that we had raised. And shooting in Michigan with the incentives really helped, as well.
JW: Have you come to film festivals as part of the documentary stuff you’ve done or is this your first experience?
JF: The docs – most of that was for hire – for series, etc.
JW: So this is your first rock star experience you get at a film festival. And like I asked, Brittany, you come out on 6th Street amid the craziness and your one of the chosen ones – especially for you – what is that like?
JF: I have to say, last night was pretty overwhelming for me because you’re working toward that moment for so long. And the Alamo is such a great place. It feels like a temple for movies. It just felt really great to finally cross the finish line.
I watch a journalist negotiate a photo of himself with Kyle. The publicist takes the pictures not convincingly at all. And then, Kyle moves his tray with his BBQ burger over to my table because that thing is a priority. And since I’ve had that same burger before, I completely understand where he’s coming from. Because it IS good. Anyway…
JW: I’ll start with you where I’ve ended with Brittany and Jeff. Tel me about your film festival experiences.
KG: It’s kind of like the first. I went to Sundance with this little indie film, RED. We didn’t compete. It was just screening there. Other than that, I’m pretty new to this. I’m almost a film festival virgin.
JW: So, what was last night like?
KG: It’s cool. It’s really gratifying. We got picked which is flattering. It was exciting. You know it’s been a long time coming. Jeff has had this thing for a long time. It’s basically been in the can for two years. I’m really excited and happy for Jeff. I really think it’s a movie that deserves to be seen.
JW: How did you get involved with it?
KG: I auditioned for it. I had read the script. And really wanted that script. I did a bunch of work on it, a lot of journal stuff. And then, went in and they decided to pick me.
JW: At this stage in your career, you’ve had a nice run. What is the audition process like for you?
KG: It’s always frustrating. Because you’ll never e as good in that room as you’ll be on set. And you’re always like, If I can just get in there…” When you go in for something you really want – it’s nerve wracking because you just want it. And the prep is different for each one. Should I use music, do a journal, just throw it out to the wind and see what happens? It’s always different.
JW: And then you got cast before Brittany’s character so you had to do readings with the prospective actresses up for that role. So what is that process like?
KG: It’s just making sure you’re ready. You want to be as giving as you can – not show up and be an asshole thinking, “I don’t give a shit about you, I’m already locked in.” No, you want to be a generous actor because you want to have someone that is going to bounce off of you and bring good stuff out of you that you didn’t know you had.
JW: Do you find yourself developing a rooting interest?
KG: Yeah, it’s not necessarily that one person is better that the other, but chemistry is a big factor. If you’re supposed to be in love with someone but can’t stand them – then that’s gonna be a problem. But Brittany and me read and it was fun, and we played and…when they said she had the role I was like, “Perfect. Let’s play”
JW: Let’s talk about the differences between a project like this a project like NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. You’ve talked about how important it was to do this for Jeff. Do you feel a little additional responsibility to help this one?
KG: Huge difference. Studio films have a lot more money, they’re guaranteed to be seen whereas this one you have got to do justice to it. You know he busted his ass to get the money to do this thing because he really believes in it. So, yeah there is a different responsibility. It’s a different feel, a different vibe.
I get seats at the end of a football field, it feels like, for a horror film panel – so I make a decision to give my seats up to Adam Donaghey, a producer friend of mine and his girlfriend Kelly Dawson because I just got a call that a client just sat down to lunch nearby and I haven’t done a face-to-face thing since I got here. And I should. Wilford Brimley would want me to. So – off I go to do the right thing (in the business universe).
Justin Muller is THE GUY at the Las Colinas Studios in Dallas that is home to a lot of production and now he’s about to launch a new webisode series called “The Dream Factory.” And he’s got ideas upon ideas for other things he wants to do and he wants everyone to know about it and, and, and… Dude’s almost bouncing on his seat with enthusiasm coming out of him like one of those lightning globes. I’ll try to contain that after I have a few bites of quesadilla. I mean, it’s a lot to harness and I need some fuel first. Anyway, this place has the only motion picture district designation in the state of Texas and he took that thing over at the age of 22 and now seven years later, he’s chomping at the bit for…well, let’s describe it as an expansion of vision. And I feel like I’m getting a similar pitch that some local in Hollywood got from a film guy as he stood next to a bunch of orange groves in the 1920s. Which is appropriate because Muller is bound and determined to be bring back that kind of old school movie studio dynamic. I throw some ideas at him, add a little structure, he pays for the quesadilla and I’m out.
Next, I’m off to do a hit and run meeting with one of the producers on TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL. I really liked this movie (saw it at Sundance) and I want to help the programming team secure it for DALLAS IFF. Here’s what I wrote about it at Sundance:
TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL
Eli Craig’s TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL is about as one-note, high concept as it gets: Two hillbillies heading to their “fixer-upper” cabin for a getaway encounter a group of vacationing college kids. The kids stereotyping them as backwoods lunatics manage to start killing themselves off one by one in an effort to attack Tucker and Dale and rescue one of their own.
This one starts off great, pulling off a pitch perfect homage to the iconic EASY RIDER drive by and doesn’t let up. Tucker and Dale’s cabin was obviously home to a lunatic that actually did murder several people years ago (complete with newspaper clippings of the missing that the guys are oblivious of since they also spy one that has a fast food discount on it). And yes, the entire thing could not be more obvious or telegraphed (Tucker cuts into a tree stump with a bees nest and in running away from the scene with his chainsaw…well, I think you probably get it). Each misunderstanding leads to a gory conclusion.
But the thing making this work beyond a basic string of set-piece gags are Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine. As Tucker and Dale, they don’t just give us characters whose reality as “nice” and “sweet” guys that can speak in complete sentences runs counter to the stereotype. They (and great credit to Craig’s script and direction as well) score with the oftentimes hilarious (given the setting) emotional support and friendship they display toward one another. It’s nice to watch a comedy where the players know what they need to work hard at for the funny versus what will easily take care of itself (I’m looking at you, any film called “Something Movie”).
So, anyway… It’s back to the BBQ place and while the producer stands in line to get his Austin reward, I do the pitch, and negotiate, and with great relief it sounds like it’s all good and Dallas gets a cool-ass crowd pleaser.
Then it’s back to the convention center, run back into Adam and Kelly. They enjoyed the panel. I have regret pangs. Or post-quesadilla pangs. They are pangs. Of that I’m sure. Then, Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News walks up and Adam and Kelly might as well tag him because they are now out and on their way and he is in. We review what films are playing at both festivals and I talk to him about moderating a panel at DALLAS IFF. Short, sweet and productive and I make my way for a place to sit to power through writing and sending in what happened yesterday.
On my way back to panel central, a publicist and a friend of his that knows of me but I don’t know her but I know I should and now I can’t ask her what her name is. Crap – I’ve got to be careful and try to find clues within the conversation while strategically doing that Terminator grid thing with her festival pass. But it’s not working. But it is a fun chat with the two of them. And then, director/writer Tracie Laymon does that film fest wave at me from down the hall with a vague pointing gesture toward a party or event in the future and/or distance where I will see her and we can actually talk.
So, next I step into my first panel. It’s in progress. Called “Not so Usual Suspects – Players on the Future of Film Distribution,” it’s headed by Michael Barker (Sony Pictures Classics), with Thanda Belker (Sony Pictures Television), Steve Bunnell (Cinemark Theatres), Tina Santomauro (Atom) and Vinnie Favale (CBS Late Night).
Immediately, I’m confused because a lot of people are VERY interested in ALICE IN WONDERLAND and closing exhibition windows and I’m quickly wondering if anyone in the room has actually made a real live movie yet. Then someone speaks up. They can’t get all the post production needs and deliverables done for theatrical presentation because it’s really, really hard or something so she asks if it’s okay with the panel if she just goes straight to VOD (like I’m guessing she does with little video snippets of her kitty being cute and stuff on facebook). A second woman follows by asking if she too can just go straight to VOD or DVD with her movies because you know, she has a jib and it’s exhausting to come home after a long hard day AND then have to be bothered trying to get her films released too. Both women take what seems like 15 minutes a piece asking and rephrasing as they ask their questions. Both times, Barker pauses as he looks at them and then even though he used a few more words than this, it amounted to: “No.”
Well, I think everyone felt enlightened after all that.
On my way out of the convention center, I make a quick stop to get my festival bag with magazines and flyers and paper and stuff and then do the traditional film festival t-shirt purchase for my wife and additional program guides for my programmers. Then it’s off to the Texas party.
But first a quick review break for something I saw prior to getting here:
AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY
Directed by Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas, AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY is in many ways a straight up birth-to-death road map of a man’s life. And I think you go into a documentary about a guy like Bill Hicks really, really curious as to the genesis of this guy’s genius. Not simply funny, but groundbreaking, provocative, incendiary screeds he dared audiences to take in and process and of course, laugh at.
And it succeeds on every level. It is both thorough as far as tracing the development of his act is concerned and it is enlightening as far as tracing the evolution of the man is concerned. Naturally, this is the kind of film that’s “pre-sold” as far as the faithful out there feel. But, I think the personal connection the filmmakers have as well as the deft use of the animation techniques utilizing the images in addition to the wealth of video at their disposal would make it work even for the uninitiated.
I try to take a little step back with a film like this because I am such an easy target, but this is a case where the reality of the man and the film that has been made on his behalf (so-to-speak) would make it work for everyone. And ultimately, make them miss that guy and that talent and that mind or discover fresh what he meant in terms up the art of stand up comedy.
Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming…
I’m at the Texas Film Commission party and I do indeed find Tracie Laymon and talk to her and film composer Ludek Drizhal. Tracie fills me in on her film fest technique of checking the shoes of the person she’s chatting with to see if they are looking for a way out or if they are shy or really into what she’s talking about. The feet are the “tell.” Now, if I can just open up that standing room only blackjack club…
I miss the next film I was planning on because it’s playing at Lamar and you have to drive there. That’s just not happening. So writer/director pal from night #1 steers us to another party because she’s got a flyer that promises a free drink. Sold.
Two parties later and I’m back in a line for AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE. Another movie made just for me. Nearby a girl has to have some emergency work done on her bustier. Two girlfriends swoop in, jack her up like a NASCAR ride, get to work, and in moments she’s out of the pit with what would have been a glorious wardrobe malfunction narrowly averted. Behind me is Steve James, regaling his crew with details on his new NO CROSSOVER: THE TRIAL OF ALLEN IVERSON doc. And walking by me is a squadron of motley storm troopers. Seriously, someone needs to buff a few white plastic uniforms… The line for BROTHERHOOD is next to me, which includes Orly Ravid of The Collaborative. Which is a very cool help-a-filmmaker-out-distribution-marketing-do-it-all-every-single-bit company launched very recently. She tells me it’s her first SXSW. And she’s a world film fest traveler, so that is remarkable.
Directed by Elijah Drenner, AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE is a deluxe look at the evolution of what we think of as grindhouse films, how they existed or co-existed with Hollywood, influenced more mainstream films, and shocked and entertained millions since the time of Edison.
I went in thinking this would be the bookend to NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, a similar look at Oz-ploitation films by Mark Hartley. But as much as I loved that one, this makes that film look like an appetizer. I mean this thing is dense with highlights and insight into seminal films like TRAFFIC IN SOULS, FREAKS and MANIAC, climbing the family tree down to “nudie cuties’ and “roughies” blaxspoitation and the introduction of gore by Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Brilliant moments of dramatic voice-overs saying things like “Now let’s consider that other public enemy – gonorrhea.” Or from a teen delinquent film, describing them as, “Dangerous and angry one moment – rocking and rolling the next!” The scene from a “Nazis vs. Jesus” film may have been my personal highlight.
This film would be win-win-win just coasting on the clips alone, but it’s a laundry list of great characters who were either key figures or really know their stuff, like Jack Hill, Joe Dante, John Landis, David Hess, William Lustig, Kim Morgan, Fred Willamson, Allison Anders and many more.
Too much fun and the DVD with the stuff they couldn’t fit in already has a reserved space in my library.
Afterwards, I pass a guy wearing a sideways baseball cap doing the “I’m walking down a staircase” bit for the people sitting inside a restaurant. I think he believes no one has seen that one. I’m referring, of course, to the baseball cap.
I make a judgment call to watch a secret screening at midnight. The film is AMER.
Written and directed by Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, this Belgium production is presented by Forzani as “the French version of 3D without glasses.” He adds, “’Amer’ means bitter, sour.” Then Cattet says something and I don’t know if it’s the language barrier or they just got here direct from a 25 hour flight or something, but I have no idea what the hell she said.
The film is focused on three key moments of carnal crisis and discovery in the life of a French girl, then young woman and adult, ‘Ana’. And just when you think an old woman crushing a bird’s corpse with her granny kung fu grip or little girl version Ana using a cross as a handy tire iron-like tool to pry a locket from a corpse’s hand followed by Technicolor filter flourishes and asthmatic wheezing and eyeballs looking through keyholes at curious little girls is enough for one film, then were introduced to pouty full French lipped teen Ana clutching her white virginal sun hat against her sex while she stares holes into the leather clad motorcycle gang she’s encountered. And so on.
There’s bold, striking imagery and sound design, “provocative and in your face, no?” kind of stuff, but I’m wondering what the hell it’s all supporting. This is like a horror film for the Tea Party types that are scared shitless over the influence of Europeans on our country. They should re-title it “Socialist!” and release it grindhouse style in the “real” America.
By the time adult Ana had her body rip out of its dress like she was Bruce Banner’s long lost French cousin who had been made mad – with desire, I was out. In my head I’m shouting, “Just have sex with the chauffer, already!” Like the film ENTER THE VOID I reached the point where I just wanted the movie to say it was okay and let me go home to have missionary sex with my wife without any subtext.
So, finally I was released from the theatre out and into the insanity (and after that film, I am incapable of using that word lightly) of 2AM 6th Street complete with girl-on-girl dirty dancing in a storefront window and party riot activity. A giant neon dinosaur bicycle thing with two guys inside it pedals by me.
I’m calling my wife and going to bed.
Just got into Austin after doing a caravan thing from Dallas with Actress/Producer Farah White and after a brief pit stop at a female writer/director buddy (whose name I can’t tell you because she asked me not to) including a Patron Tequila send me off, we headed to the convention center to get our film festival badges.
The badge pick up process is about as streamlined as these things can be and after a quick film fest hug with ROCK SLYDE producer Milan Chakribarti, someone sends me to “Help Girl #2” and quick as that I have my pass complete with the awkward fish eye lens picture of me from their insta-cam last year. Heinous and unfortunate. Farah catches up with me and asks, “Why do they always have to shoot up your nose?”
More film fest hit and runs continue as we make our way to the line that awaits us at the KICK-ASS premiere. Various journalist and distributor friends do passing hand shakes, yelling backwards which party they’ll be at later so we can shake hands standing still or shout at each other frontwards while loud music blares. This is the first in what will be a continuous series of improvisations and adjustments at South by Southwest since I was supposed to see CHERRY since I’m scheduled to interview the director and star tomorrow. But Austin traffic has forced me to adjust on the fly.
Some guy hands me a “Why Vegan?” pamphlet. I start to leaf through it as I’m walking and see that it’s full of sad animal pictures that belong in one of those Sarah MacLachlan commercials. Except these are animals you like to eat. So I’m conflicted. I mean, they’re sad AND tasty.
We’ve almost found our writer/director pal who has been holding a place in line, but first it’s another film fest hug. This time with IMDB Amazon Film Festival Bon Vivant Christian Gaines. He’s pretty much why I’m in this world now, so the dude deserves a hug for that alone. Once in line, Farah and I are introduced to everyone on either side of us in the line as well. The one which has seemed to join our little viewing party is a cute documentary director from L.A. who has made a film about surfing Israelis. Naturally, I give her my card and tell her to get in touch regarding submitting the film to the Feel Good Film Festival because, let’s face it – surfing Israelis? Just the idea of that makes me smile for some reason.
Crap, KICK-ASS is full.
And Christian Gaines is pissed. It’s the second screening he wasn’t able to get into. That’s not a good sign.
But, we do finally get in. To a party, that is. A cover band is doing a nice “Groove in the Heart” and the lead singer’s mirror ball fabric jump suit is worth the price of admission. Which was free. And so was my drink. Or two. And suddenly, SXSW rallies a bit. According to the keyboardist there was really bad compression on the peaks. He’s upset. But no one noticed. They’re distracted by Mirror Ball Chick, free drinks and tasty chicken skewers, and mini-quesadillas. Oh, and the fact they actually got into something.
We grab a table with a guy doing a panel tomorrow on Neural Marketing. I’m gonna guess this place is rife with raw data. Anyway, the more he talks, the more I’m getting flashes of MINORITY REPORT in front of my face. Then, after a wardrobe adjustment, Farah says, “You can totally get away with bra straps at SXSW.” And then she’s showing off the guns and our writer/director pal is working an orange boa she was given as we entered. And I’m thinking, “This guy had better start taking notes for that whole neural marketing thing he thinks he’s on top of.”
Our writer/director bud says she’s keeping a running tally of the men she’s run into this evening that have been on her payroll. And then L.A. director girl gives us this nugget: She just overheard someone say, “The taxidermist said last night I looked really sexy.”
Okay, time to leave that party.
So, we split up to divide and conquer. The ladies go off to check out a “Pasteries and Pasties” party and I volunteer to take one for the home team by getting in line an hour and a half early to guarantee we get into the PREDATORS preview thing.
Farah joins me and pulls me out of line because we have a friend at FOX that can maybe get me to Robert Rodriguez, who I’m on a mission to convince to come to the DALLAS International Film Festival in April. This SXSW I have a few things on the plate. We meet with her, she’s working on getting word to him, but you know, vague and not helping all that much stuff. As Farah and I make our way back to our spot which was being held by a nice lady we run into journalist friends closer to the front of line and they invite us into the warm embrace of “closer to getting in”. Which is a weasel festival move – given. But I’m also O for two tonight. Then they say, they have spots held for them since they are covering and maybe I can get in that way and Farah tells me to go with them like I’m leaving with the women and children.
Five minutes later and I’m back. No dice with FOX. I’m not on the list. And “it’s a very specific list.” Now, the people behind us are threatening to call us out to the volunteers. ‘Cause I’m film festival gangsta like that.
But I bail on that thought as I realize the cute girl with the accent that was standing right behind us and is now leaving is Electra Avellan, Rodriguez’ niece and one of the crazy babysitter twins from PLANET TERROR who I meant to reach out to for a film I’m involved in. Had no idea it was her. She decided to leave because after waiting in line for an hour and twenty minutes, that last ten was about to kill her. So as I’m wondering what the hell she was standing in line for, I run after her like Richard Gere after David Keith in AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN and give her my business card before she hangs herself over that townie. Wait. I’m mixing things up a little. She actually just rides off in one of those bicycle taxi things. She’ll be fine, I’m sure.
And success! We get into the theatre. And sit down, as it turns out, between the guy who made the preview trailer we’re about to see – which is funny and cool, and film festival gadfly Chris Gore who immediately gets wrapped up in a “How the hell do I know you?” banter game with Farah.
So Robert Rodriguez comes out to start the show. He sets up and introduces the trailer for the movie. Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins are the lucky participants in a THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME winner take-all in a jungle on a Predator planet far far away. And this will shock you, the odds aren’t in their favor.
Fun trailer. Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal, the director – and Greg Nicotero SFX monster man top dog all look to have worked hard to make us all forget about those AVP scrums. As slide after slide of artist renderings of various Predators and Predators 2.0 and girl Predators and flying Predators and dog Predators and well, it’s like they had a contest in the office to turn every damn thing that breathed into a Predator. And that will be the next dumbass thing for facebook: replacing “redo yourself as a Mad Men cartoon” or “What would you look like as an AVATAR Na’vi?” thing. Post your Predator-self photo now!
Where was I? Oh, so Nicotero reveals an Original Recipe Predator head and he and Antal start playing with their mobile control units to make the mouth move, and fanboys sitting behind me drool audibly. It’s fun – gotta give them that. And then, after a second trailer, which I’m convinced was actually the first one just re-played, we finally see an actual scene which is an introduction to Fishburne’s character. And, again – it’s fun popcorn stuff. Good popcorn.
And everyone is praising everyone and it was great to work with everyone with an emphasis of “we really wanted to get this thing right.” Antal returns frequently to the idea of focusing on the hunting methods and skills and playing and exploring with those themes and ideas. And that’s what gives me faith that this will deliver beyond what we’ve seen with the show-and-tell here. There’s some ideas cooking there and that is a relief.
As we leave we get some lovely parting gifts: t-shirt, poster, Predator laser pointer, My wife will be happy.
Afterward, we exit the theatre into a typically insane scene on 6th street. A lot of people having a party and you are invited. Whoever you are. Just start drinking, get something that flashes some kind of LED rainbow colors and keep going until you collapse, I guess. We make our way into the Opening Night party and while milling about find out that Rodriguez is there. So that’s where we go – so I can make the pitch for Dallas. I find him hanging out with Jason Reitman in the afterglow of the Predators power point presentation and introduce myself and let him know how much the DALLAS IFF would love to have him there. He says, “Maybe. It’s close.” Fair enough. And I’m out. That’s all you can do. My work there is done.
So, around 1:30AM I get back to the house I’m sofa surfing at to watch a screener so I can actually say I saw a movie tonight before I pass out…
Written and directed by Jeffrey Fine, CHERRY is a classic coming-of-age story of a young man during his freshman year at an Ivy League school. He’s a natural artist being steered without any hope for debate toward an engineering degree by an overbearing mom. And he also happens to be your standard issue virgin. It’s like cherry, upon cherry, upon…
And I say classic because there is such a timeless romantic sheen over the film that kept me wondering if it actually had meant to be a kind of period thing. That happened to include women with piercings. But no – contemporary and all by design. And nicely by design, I have to say.
Our lead character, ‘Aaron’ (played by Kyle Gallner) quickly falls into a friendship and two-way crush-ship with both a single mom (Laura Allen) and her 14 year-old daughter (Brittany Robertson). And soon you stop comparing CHERRY to SUMMER OF ’42 as Fine places much more emphasis on the emotional crushes forming as opposed to the physical ones.
The story plays out as both warmly familiar and respects the youthful discovery process without resorting to wide-eyed epiphanies. I’m sure no one would be shocked by the result of Aaron’s struggle of the artistic/true to yourself tract versus the engineering/ your future’s security according to your mom tract, let alone how things play out with the mother and daughter. But it is wisely nuanced and a pleasure view across the board.
And now I can go to sleep….
THE 2010 DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIVE ADDITIONAL DOCS ADDED TO SLATE
TITLES INCLUDE SUNDANCE FAVORITE “CANE TOADS IN 3-D,” AND SXSW HITS “BEAR NATION,” AND “LEMMY”
FESTIVAL ALSO ANNOUNCES AN INCREASED CASH AWARD FOR THE MPS STUDIOS TEXAS COMPETITION WINNER
TXU ENERGY FAST FORWARD VIDEO CONTEST INTRODUCED
AWARDS TO BE PRESENTED AT FIRST DALLAS FILM SOCIETY HONORS EVENT PRESENTED BY THE GAIL L. & ARTHUR E. BENJAMIN FOUNDATION
DALLAS, TX, March 30, 2010 – DALLAS International Film Festival (April 8 – 18) announced it has added five documentary titles to its schedule of films for 2010. The titles include a crowd pleaser at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, CANE TOADS in 3-D, two popular documentaries from the just concluded South by Southwest Film Festival; BEAR NATION and LEMMY: THE MOVIE, the documentary profile LEARNING FROM LIGHT: THE VISION OF I.M. PEI, and a portrait of opera figure Barbara Smith Conrad, WHEN I RISE.
DALLAS IFF also announced an impressive lineup of awards and awards packages that will be presented at “The Dallas Film Society Honors” presented by the Gail L. & Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation event on Friday, April 16 at Hotel Palomar.
As announced previously, Target will once again present a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize to the winners of the Target Narrative and Target Documentary Feature Competition. The event will also feature the (previously announced) presentations of the DALLAS Star Awards to John Lee Hancock and Wally Pfister.
MPS Studios has also continued their partnership with DALLAS IFF sponsoring the Texas Competition. While the total prize worth remains at $20,000 for that category, the cash prize has been upped to $10,000, equaling the goods and services grant of $10,000.
DALLAS IFF Senior Programmer Sarah Harris said, “While it is an honor and a great moment for a filmmaker to just be singled out by a jury for their work, the prizes that go along with these awards often go a long way toward recouping some of their investment in that film or lend great assistance toward making their next one. Target and MPS Studios have been stalwarts in support of those filmmakers from the very beginning of this film festival.”
For the first time, REEL FX ENTERTAINMENT will give the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Animation an NFR copy of 2010 Autodesk MAYA animation software.
DALLAS International Film Festival’s commitment to advancing awareness of environmental concerns, as well as the promotion of education through film takes another step forward as DALLAS IFF has teamed with TXU Energy on its TXU Energy Fast Forward Video Contest. The statewide contest enlisted Texas students to create films focused on the future of energy efficiency and energy conservation. The student filmmakers are competing for technology grants of up to $7,500 (and totaling $11,500) to be used to purchase and upgrade the film equipment for their schools. The winners will also be invited to DALLAS IFF for a special event and screening of their films.
“The TXU Energy Fast Forward Contest is providing a unique way for the next generation of influential Texans to make a difference by promoting energy efficiency and conservation in a way that is important to them,” said Michael Grasso, chief marketing officer for TXU Energy. “This event has an excellent reputation for promoting both education and the environment and we are excited to be a part of it.”
The winners of all the competitions in the 2010 DALLAS International Film Festival will receive MOVIE MAGIC software from Entertainment Partners.
The films added to the 2010 DALLAS IFF slate include:
Produced by Kevin Smith & Nhaelan McMilan and directed by Malcolm Ingram, the documentary examines the gay men known as “bears.” Focusing on the large and hairy men that comprise this group, the film explores the sometimes controversial co-existence within the gay community as well as offering a fresh perspective on what it means to be a gay man.
CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST
Directed by Mark Lewis and marking the first time a DALLAS IFF film has been presented in 3-D, the documentary plays as an equal parts comedy and horror film as it illustrates the environmental devastation left in the wake of the toad march across the continent of Australia.
LEARNING FROM LIGHT: THE VISION OF I.M. PEI
Directed by Bo Landin and Sterling Van Wagenen, the documentary follows IM Pei, now in his 90s, as he works to complete the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. The film tells the story of a man who has transformed architecture around the world through his work. The Louvre in Paris, and the introduction of the glass pyramid are just a couple examples of his insightful bravery to cross cultural divides and bridge worlds.
Directed by Wes Orshoski and Greg Oliver, LEMMY is a documentary portrait of heavy metal icon and Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. Featuring appearances by the members of Metallica, Dave Grohl, Billy Bob Thornton and pro wrestler Triple H, the film takes an entertaining and detailed look at Lemmy’s personal and public life.
WHEN I RISE
Directed by Mat Hames, WHEN I RISE tells the story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted University of Texas music student who found herself at the epicenter of a racial controversy and struggled against the odds to ultimately ascend to the heights of the international opera community.
Commenting on the additions to the 2010 lineup, Artistic Director James Faust said, “These five documentaries are exciting additions to an already great lineup of films. Fascinating, to enlightening to out and out crowd pleasers – they run the gamut and we couldn’t be happier to add them to the mix.”
The DALLAS International Film Festival will run April 8 – 18, 2010. Passes and tickets are currently on sale both via online (www.dallasfilm.org <http://www.dallasfilm.org/> ), and at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Window located at 5330 Mockingbird Lane on the Hotel Palomar retail strip facing Mockingbird Lane (214.295.5142).
DALLAS FILM SOCIETY ANNOUNCES
THE 2010 DALLAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT GALA FEATURING MULTIPLE FILMS
UNPRECEDENTED OPENING NIGHT EVENT UTILIZES EVERY SCREEN AT DALLAS’ ANGELIKA FILM CENTER
OPENING NIGHT TITLES INCLUDE “BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK,” “MULTIPLE SARCASMS,” “NOSOTROS LOS POBRES” AND “SKATELAND”
FESTIVAL ALSO ANNOUNCES
DALLAS STAR AWARD RECIPIENTS
AND FESTIVAL LINEUP
DALLAS, TX, March 18, 2010 – DALLAS International Film Festival announced it will take over all eight screens of the Angelika Film Center for a Opening Night Celebration that will showcase multiple films and highlighting the great diversity (narrative, documentary, Texas made, classic Mexican cinema, shorts, etc.) within the program this year. 1,600 Dallas film goers will participate in the festivities and see featured films including BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK, MULTIPLE SARCASMS, NOSOTROS LOS POBRES, SKATELAND and a special Shorts block. In addition, the Festival announced a Super Saturday lineup of films packed with four world premieres, including HOLD, SIN ELLA (WITHOUT HER), VIRSA and WE ARE THE SEA.
The 11-day festival (April 8 – 18) will feature 153 feature films and shorts with 170 screenings. For the fourth consecutive year, Target will once again take the lead with the filmmaker awards sponsorship as the Target Narrative and Target Documentary Feature Competition winners will each receive a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize.
DALLAS Film Society Chairman Michael Cain said. “The screening of multiple films on Opening Night is a direct result of listening to the filmmakers and our audience. We closed last year with multiple films and the audience loved the selection and choice. This move enables us to welcome a larger audience and turn the spotlight on more filmmaking teams who now share ownership of the Opening Night of the festival. As founder Liener Temerlin reminds us often, the city has come to expect a world class presentation from this film festival. By taking over the entire Angelika Film Center of Dallas for the screening of multiple visions, we are able to deliver this once again.”
This year, the DALLAS Star Award, presented annually by the DALLAS International Film Festival to film artists in recognition of their unique contributions to cinema,will be given to writer-director Guillermo Arriaga (BABEL, 21 GRAMS), writer-director John Lee Hancock (THE ROOKIE, THE BLIND SIDE), three time Academy Award nominated cinematographer Wally Pfister (BATMAN BEGINS, THE PRESTIGE, THE DARK KNIGHT) and Mexican film Icon Pedro Infante (NOSOTROS LOS POBRES, USTEDES LOS RICOS, PEPE EL TORO) to mark Mexico’s Bicentennial. The stunning awards are designed from Steuben Crystal and are presented courtesy of Neiman Marcus.
Arriaga will be presented his DALLAS Star Award prior to a special “Conversation with…” panel discussion of his career and screening of his film THE BURNING PLAIN, Hancock and Pfister will both receive their DALLAS Star Award prior to the filmmaker awards during The DALLAS Film Society Honors event on Friday, April 16. The DALLAS Star Award will be presented posthumously to INFANTE PRIOR TO THE SCREENING OF NOSOTROS LOS POBRES.
Academy Award winning Writer/Director Pete Docter will be the recipient of the Texas Avery Animation Award presented by REEL FX ENTERTAINMENT, which honors lifetime achievement in animation filmmaking. The award will be presented to Docter prior to a special celebration of his career in animation.
Sponsored by Match.com, the Opening Night Festivities will showcase multiple films including narratives, documentaries and short films on all 8 screens of the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station on Thursday, April 8. An audience of 1,600 Dallas film lovers will gather to enjoy red carpet arrivals, films and an Opening Night Celebration to be held throughout Mockingbird Station.
Special guest Bill Paxton and Honorary Chairs Mayor Tom Leppert and Laura Leppert will walk the red carpet and welcome festival goers to this fourth celebration of the best in cinema.
The Opening Night films include:
BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK (representing documentaries)
Directed by Richard Press, the documentary chronicles the life of the legendary, yet enigmatic New York Times photographer. Obsessively interested in one thing – the pictures he takes that document the way people dress – Cunningham lives a monk-like existence, yet has managed to not only chronicle the intersection of fashion and society in New York over fifty years, but has long been held in the highest regard by the upper crust of New York.
MULTIPLE SARCASMS (representing narrative)
Directed by Brooks Branch, the film is a quirky relationship drama about an architect (played by Timothy Hutton), successful and in his 40s, who begins questioning his life choices and starts writing a play based on his life. As the play begins to take shape, his real life begins to unravel. The cast includes Stockard Channing, Dana Delany, Chris Sarandon, Mira Sorvino, and Mario Van Peebles.
NOSOTROS LOS POBRES (WE THE POOR) (representing Mexican cinema)
As part of a nod to the celebration of the Mexican Bicentennial, DALLAS IFF will screen this classic from 1948. Directed by Ismael Rodriguez and starring Pedro Infante, the film is widely considered to be one of the best known and beloved films from Mexico. The film attempts to depict and dignify the lives of the working-class poor in Mexico City with a slice-of-life story involving several characters that live within the same neighborhood.
SKATELAND (representing Texas made cinema)
Directed by Anthony Burns, SKATELAND is a coming-of-age film set in 1983 centering on ‘Ritchie’, a worker at Skateland, the roller rink and local hangout of a small town. With Skateland due to close, the party scene getting stale and his romantic life as cloudy as his future; Ritchie struggles to make sense of it all. When tragedy strikes his friends and family, Ritchie must face the music—and make the biggest decision of his life.
OPENING NIGHT SHORTS SELECTIONS
Another first for the film festival will be a special screening of short films as a salute to the films and filmmakers that will have their films shown at DALLAS IFF. Representing each of the short programs and various styles that will play over the course of the film festival, the films include recent Academy Award winner THE NEW TENANTS, SEEDS OF THE FALL (International), CHARLIE AND THE RABBIT (Student), THE S FROM HELL (Midnight), VOICE ON THE LINE (Experimental), DIG DEEP (Texas), and DOCK ELLIS & THE LSD NO NO (Animation).
Super Saturday presentations on Saturday, April 10 include:
HOLD – World Premiere
Directed by Frank Mosely, the drama follows the evolution of a young couple’s relationship after a home intruder has raped the wife. Displaying the isolation of a couple bound by love, but torn by circumstance, HOLD investigates the frailty of the hero complex and exposes the vulnerability that masculinity sometimes masks too well in the face of tragedy.
Written and directed by Derrick Borte, the film is a serio-comic social commentary on our consumerist society about the seemingly perfect couple and their gorgeous teen-aged children. The family is the envy of their posh, suburban neighborhood filled with McMansions and all the trappings of the upper middle class. But as the neighbors try to keep up with the Joneses, none are prepared for the truth about this all-too perfect family. The film stars Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Gary Cole, Lauren Hutton and Amber Heard.
WITHOUT HER (Sin Ella) – World Premiere
Directed by Jorge Colon, WITHOUT HER (Sin Ella) is a drama about a successful reality show producer whose life and relationship with his children is turned upside down following the tragic death of his ex-wife. When she appears in his thoughts to tell him what she would have done in each situation, the two begin to relive their love story.
A film that was so popular at the just concluded SXSW Film Festival that several pass holders had to be turned away at the door, the film, THUNDER SOUL is a documentary that turns the camera on a reunion of the 1970’s Kashmere High School band and its director, Conrad Johnson, which became an international funk sensation at the time. Directed by Mark Landsman, the film picks things up 30 years later, as his students return to pay tribute to the man who changed their lives.
VIRSA – World Premiere
Directed by Pankaj Batra, this film out of Pakistan focuses on a man’s struggles to cohabitate with two generations of his family while the family itself faces similar difficulties assimilating to their adopted culture.
WAITING FOR FOREVER
Directed by James Keach, this Hollywood-set romance concerns a man and woman working to recapture and recover a love they had put aside when she left her home town to seek a career as a television actress. The film stars Rachel Bilson, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner, Nikki Blonsky and Jaime King.
WE ARE THE SEA – World Premiere
Written and directed by Neil Truglio, this drama focuses on an English teacher drifting though life and trying to make sense of the direction it has taken following his recovery from the near fatal consequences of his actions. Starring Jeff Childress and Allison Savoy, the film features the music of Iron & Wine.
In the Festival’s first year following the conclusion of its contract with AFI, DALLAS IFF has made a concerted effort to reflect the culture of Dallas by emphasizing the independent filmmakers, local area filmmakers and Latin and Mexican films within the strongly populist programming philosophy extolled by Artistic Director James Faust, Senior Programmer Sarah Harris and Festival Chairman Michael Cain.
While DALLAS IFF will continue to enjoy the spectacle of the celebrity populated red carpets it has become known for over the past three years, there will be even more emphasis placed on bringing filmmakers and Dallas audiences together this year.
Commenting on the 2010 lineup and DALLAS Star award honorees, Artistic Director James Faust said, “We have worked very hard to bring films and filmmakers to Dallas that we feel the audiences here would delight in seeing and celebrating or would be thrilled to discover. At the same time, we have sought to infuse the lineup with films that represent this city and its sensibility as well as celebrate some truly remarkable film artists.”
Screenings and Red Carpet entrances will be held at the Angelika Film Center and Landmark’s Magnolia Theater. The Hotel Palomar will serve as the epicenter for the Festival, including the Southwest Airlines Ticket Window and the DALLAS Film Festival Lounge where the vitaminwater Game Room, Stella Artois Cutting Room and Dallas Film Commission Arcade will be featured. Filmmaker panels will be held at the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Central 214 Patio located at Hotel Palomar. There will be a Family Day celebration in partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, the TXU ENERGY Fast Forward Video Contest awards and screenings, parties, and other special events celebrating film at The Crow Collection of Asian Art and area high schools and universities. The culminating event will be the awards ceremony, “The DALLAS Film Society Honors” to be held at the Hotel Palomar on Friday, April 16 with DALLAS IFF award winner and encore screenings to follow on April 17 and 18 at Studio Movie Grill Dallas at Royal Lane and 75 (11170 N. Central Expressway).
In addition to the Target Filmmaker Awards, filmmakers will vie for $20,000 in cash, goods and services from MPS Studios for the winner of the Texas Competition. Additional awards will be presented to the jury winners of the Environmental Visions, Animation, Student Film and Shorts categories, as well as audience awards for Narrative Feature, Documentary and Shorts.
New DALLAS IFF Executive Director, Tanya Foster said, “This is Dallas’ film festival. It’s as simple as that. It is the culmination of the work this non-profit organization does year round. The DALLAS Film Society seeks out and programs films, focusing on the education of film in this city and the celebration of the filmmaker by working with so many of the other wonderful film festivals and community groups both here in Dallas and in Texas to bring the best in film to Dallas. It’s a thrill to be a part of it and know what it takes to put on this ‘show’”
Six feature films will be making their world premieres at DALLAS IFF 2010. Those films include: HOLD, THE RIVER WHY, SWEET SCIENCE: A BOXING DOCUMENTARY, VIRSA, WE ARE THE SEA, WITHOUT HER (Sin Ella).
The DALLAS International Film Festival film categories are as follows:
The Target Narrative Feature Competition is a juried competition featuring the best of international cinema;
The Target Documentary Feature Competition is a juried competition featuring the best in international documentary film;
Documentary Showcase features the most cutting-edge, informative documentary work, not up for competition;
Special Presentations features films that fall outside of the Festival’s programming categories yet deserve screenings on their own special merit;
The Dallas Premiere Series features the best new films on the horizon that are making their debut on Dallas screens, including top studio films with top industry talent;
The Texas Competition sponsored by MPS Studios Dallas, which encourages and promotes Texas filmmaking by showing both short and feature films produced, about, and shot in Texas;
The Environmental Visions Competition highlights films and filmmakers that best communicate the importance of conservation through the art of film;
World Cinema presented by Stella Artois features cinematic voices from around the world—including Australia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia—giving local audiences the unique opportunity to engage with these innovative films and filmmakers;
Mexico Spotlight, presented by El Creative, Univision 23, and Metro PCS, spotlights the most riveting feature films from Mexico in celebration of the country’s bicentennial.
Family Friendly features dynamic and adventurous films that are uniquely suited for the family viewing experience;
The Animation Competition, sponsored by REEL FX ENTERTAINMENT features films that explore the many potential avenues and media utilized in film animation today;
Community Showcase highlights films that feature the achievements of local individuals and groups;
Midnight Specials features on-the-edge films that relish both the genre and outré filmmaking worlds;
Shorts Competition presents the most innovative films from around the world that push the edge of traditional storytelling in 30 minutes or less.
Student Competition showcases the best from up-and-coming filmmakers across the world, including both short and feature length films created by high school and college students; and
Local Student Shorts features the best work from students of local universities and high schools.
The DALLAS IFF full festival lineup will showcase more than 55 features and 98 shorts for a total (including Education/Student shorts) of 153 films from 25 countries.
DALLAS IFF films (by category) are as follows:
TARGET NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
BROTHERHOOD – DIR: Will Canon (USA)
Cast: Jon Foster, Trevor Morgan, Lou Taylor Pucci
COOKING WITH STELLA – DIR: Dillip Mehta (Canada)
Cast: Don McKellar, Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, Shriya Saran
THE DRY LAND – DIR: Ryan Piers Williams (USA)
Cast: America Ferrera, Ryan O’Nan, Wilmer Valderrama, Jason Ritter, Ethan Suplee, Melissa Leo
OBSELIDIA – DIR: Diane Bell (USA)
Cast: Michael Piccirilli, Gaynor Howe, Frank Hoyt Taylor
SNOW AND ASHES – DIR: Charles-Olivier Michaud (Canada)
Cast: Rhys Coiro, David-Alexandré Coiteux, Marina Eva
WE ARE THE SEA – DIR: Neil Truglio (USA)
Cast: Jeff Childress, Allison Savoy, Lauren Shealy
TARGET DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
HIS & HERS – DIR: Ken Wardrop (Ireland)
KICK IN IRAN – DIR: Fatima Abdollahvan (Germany)
THE LAST SURVIVOR – DIR: Michael Pertnoy, Michael Kleiman (USA)
THE RED CHAPEL (Detrode kapel) – DIR: Mads Brügger (Denmark)
A SURPRISE IN TEXAS – DIR: Peter Rosen (USA)
THUNDER SOUL – DIR: Mark Landsman (USA)
WASTE LAND – DIR: Lucy Walker (Brazil/UK)
JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD – DIR: Tamra Davis (USA)
NO CROSSOVER: THE STORY OF ALLEN IVERSON – DIR: Steve James (USA)
OCTOBER COUNTRY – DIR: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher (USA)
WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY – DIR: Don Hahn (USA)
TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) – DIR: Orson Welles (USA)
Cast: Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh
WAITING FOR FOREVER (2009) – DIR: James Keach (USA)
Cast: Tom Sturridge, Rachel Bilson, Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner, Jaime King, Nikki Blonsky, Scott Mechlowicz, Matt Davis
WAKE (2010) – DIR: Chad Feehan (USA)
Cast: Josh Stewart, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Chris Browning
DALLAS PREMIERE SERIES
BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK – DIR: Richard Press (USA)
CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY – DIR: Alex Gibney (USA)
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH (Nanjing! Nanjing!) – DIR: Lu Chuan (China/Hong Kong)
Cast: Liu Ye, Gao Yuanyuan, Nakaizumi Hideo, Fan Wei
CRACKS – DIR: Jordan Scott (USA)
Cast: Eva Green
LOVERS OF HATE – DIR: Bryan Poyser (USA)
Cast: Chris Doubek, Heather Kafka, Alex Karpovsky, Zach Green
SKATELAND – DIR: Anthony Burns (USA)
Cast: Ashley Greene, Brett Cullen, Heath Freeman, James LeGros, A.J. Buckley
WINTER’S BONE – DIR: Debra Granik (USA)
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Shelley Waggener
TEXAS COMPETITION sponsored by MPS Studios
AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY – DIR: Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas (UK)
CARRIED AWAY – DIR: Tom Huckabee (USA)
Cast: Gabriel Horn, Juli Erickson
DANCE WITH THE ONE – DIR: Michael Donal (USA)
EARTHLING – DIR: Clay Liford (USA)
Cast: William Kat, Rebecca Spence, Peter Greene
HARMONY AND ME – DIR: Robert Byington (USA)
Cast: Justin Rice, Kevin Corrigan, Pat Healy
HOLD – DIR: Frank Mosley (USA)
Cast: Robby Storey, Stephanie Rhodes
SWEET SCIENCE: A BOXING DOCUMENTARY – DIR: Chris Howell (USA)
ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS COMPETITION
CLIMATE REFUGEES – DIR: Michael Nash (USA)
COLONY– DIR: Ross McDonnell, Carter Gunn (Ireland)
GREENLIT – DIR: Miranda Bailey (USA)
ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS SPECIAL PRESENTATION
THE RIVER WHY – DIR: Matthew Leutwyler (USA)
Cast: Zach Gilford, Amber Heard, William Hurt, Kathleen Quinlan, Dallas Roberts, William Devane
WORLD CINEMA sponsored by Stella Artois
DISCO AND ATOMIC WAR (Disko ja Tuumasoda) – DIR: Jaak Kilmi (Estonia/Finland)
DOWN TERRACE – DIR: Ben Wheatley (UK)
Cast: Robin Hill, Robert Hill, Julia Deakin, Tony Way
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD (Joeunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom) – DIR: Kim Jee-woon (South Korea)
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Byung-hun Lee, Woo-sung Jung
I AM LOVE (Io Sono l”Amore) – DIR: Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Flavio Parenti
MY TEHRAN FOR SALE – DIR: Granaz Moussavi (Australia/Iran)
Cast: Marzieh Vafamehr, Amir Chegini, Asha Mehrabi
SHIRLEY ADAMS – DIR: Olivier Hermanus (South Africa/USA)
Cast: Denise Newman, Keenan Arrison, Theresa C. Sedras, Emily Childs, Lee-Ann van Rooi
VIRSA – DIR: Pankaj Batra (Pakistan)
MEXICO SPOTLIGHT presented by El Creative, Univision 23, and Metro PCS
BECLOUD (Vaho) – DIR: Alejandro Gerber Bicecci (Mexico)
Cast: Marta Aura, Sonia Couoh, Aldo Estuardo
NORTHLESS (Norteado) – DIR: Rigoberto Perezcano (Mexico/Spain)
Cast: Harold Torres, Alicia Laguna
WE THE POOR (Nosotros Los Pobres)
Cast: Pedro Infante, Evita Muñoz
WITHOUT HER (Sin Ella) – DIR: Jorge Colon (Mexico)
ALABAMA MOON – DIR: Tim McCanlies (USA)
Cast: Jimmy Bennett, John Goodman, Clint Howard, Gabriel Basso, Uriah Shelton
UP – DIR: Pete Docter (USA)
Cast: Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Linddo
ANIMATION COMPETITION presented by REEL FX Entertainment
THE ART OF DROWNING – DIR: Diego Maclean (Canada)
DOCK ELLIS & THE LSD NO-NO – DIR: James Blagden (USA)
FARD – DIR: David Alapont, Luis Briceno (France)
LAND OF THE HEADS – DIR: Cédric Louis, Claude Barras (Canada/Switzerland)
THE MOUSE THAT SOARED – DIR: Kyle Bell (USA)
RUNAWAY – DIR: Cordell Barker (Canada)
SAM’S HOT DOGS – DIR: David Lopez Retamero (UK)
THE TERRIBLE THING OF ALPHA 9! – DIR: Jake Armstrong (USA)
WISDOM TEETH – DIR: Don Hertzfeldt (USA)
YOU CRIED ME – DIR: Tom Deslongchamp (USA)
NESHOBA – DIR: Micki Dickoff, Tony Pagano (USA)
PAINTING POETRY – DIR: Earl Latchley (USA)
THE LOVED ONES – DIR: Sean Byrne (Australia)
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Richard Wilson, Jessica McNamee, Victoria Thane
A TOWN CALLED PANIC – DIR: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar (Belgium)
TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL – DIR: Eli Craig (Canada)
Cast: Katrina Bowden, Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk
STUDENT SHORTS COMPETITION
ADELAIDE – DIR: Liliana Greenfield-Sanders (USA)
CHARLIE AND THE RABBIT – DIR: Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck (USA)
CONNECTIONS INTERNATIONAL – DIR: Putnam Trumbull (Singapore)
GUERRILLA GARDEN – DIR: Rafael Palacio Illingworth (USA)
PROCESSION – DIR: Beth Spitalny (USA)
SHOOT THE MOON – DIR: Alex O’Flinn (USA)
YOUNG LOVE – DIR: Ariel Kleiman (Australia)
LOCAL STUDENT SHORTS
NORTH TEXAS COLLEGE SHOWCASE
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON BLOCK
HIGH SCHOOL SHOWCASE
6 – DIR: Jeff Bednarz (USA)
A .45 AT 50th – DIR: Joshua Bell, John Cromwell (USA)
BEAST – DIR: Lars p. Arendt (Denmark)
BIG HANDS – DIR: Aaron Holloway (USA)
BLACK OPS ARABESQUE – DIR: Jared Drake (USA)
B.U.S.T. – DIR: David Call (USA)
CRAZY PIG – DIR: Juan Francisco de la Guardia (USA)
DEAD HUNGRY – DIR: William Bridges (UK)
DELMER BUILDS A MACHINE– DIR: Landon Zakheim (USA)
DIG DEEP – DIR: Mark Birnbaum, Manny Mendoza (USA)
FOLLICLE FROLIC – DIR: Mark Potts (USA)
GAYBY – DIR: Jonathan Lisecki (USA)
JADE – DIR: Daniel Elliott (UK)
JUNKO’S SHAMISEN – DIR: Solomon Friedman (Canada)
LAREDO, TEXAS – DIR: Topaz Adizes (USA)
MONKEYWRENCH – DIR: Chris Teague (USA)
MR. OKRA – DIR: T.G. Herrington (USA)
NEW MEDIA – DIR: J.J. Adler (USA)
THE NEW TENANTS – DIR: Joachim Back (Denmark/USA)
THE PACKAGE – DIR: Marco Gadge (Germany)
PORCELAIN & DIAMONDS – DIR: Ryan Silbert (USA)
QUADRANGLE – DIR: Amy Grappell (USA)
THE ROOM – DIR: Nik Sentenza (Germany)
THE S FROM HELL – DIR: Rodney Ascher (USA)
SEEDS OF THE FALL – DIR: Patrik Eklund (Sweden)
THE SHUTDOWN – DIR: Adam Stafford (UK)
START A BAND – DIR: Daniel Laabs (USA)
TUB – DIR: Bobby Miller (USA)
VOICE ON THE LINE – DIR: Kelly Sears (USA)
VOSTOK STATION – DIR: Dylan Pharazyn (New Zealand)