Flick picks: What local filmmakers want to see
The curtain is getting ready to rise on the 25th Virginia Film Festival, and there's the recurrent problem: what to see?
Sometimes, it's simply too much to weed through more than 100 films for the optimal film festival experience. And festival director Jody Kielbasa takes a fiendish delight in forcing moviegoers to make the hard choices when two or more screenings you want to see are on at the same time.
That's why the Hook brought in experts. We've asked four local filmmakers to tell us what they want to go see during the November 1-4 moviethon. (And there's surprisingly little log rolling.)
As always, we recommend that you don't tarry in buying your tickets because showings sell out. At press time, that includes All the President's Men, Amazon Gold, Amour, Compliance, Hyde Park on Hudson, and Silver Linings Playbook.
Once the tough decisions are made, sit back and savour a Charlottesville institution on its silver anniversary.
Picker Marc Adams
Over two years, Adams shot 230 bands and had 700 hours of footage for his documentary on the local music scene– Something in the Water– screening at 10pm Friday, November 2, at Vinegar Hill. His band, Black Heart Valentine Club, will be playing at the after-party at Rapture.
Love Free or Die (2012)
11am Sunday, Vinegar Hill
It's a documentary about Gene Robinson, the first openly gay person to become a bishop ever. Talk about real life drama– a person who loves his god so much that he fights for his right to be gay and still love his god. Whether you agree or disagree, this is bound to be a one-of-a-kind film and something I can relate to on a personal level, as one of my best friends is an openly gay music director of his church. I would go see this with him, only it's showing during the church hour.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
1:30pm Sunday, Regal 4 Downtown
One of the my classic, all-time-favorite films and the original, 1962 one, by the way. I have a soft spot for Frank Sinatra as a man, a singer, and an actor. I have a signed picture of him on my dining room wall right above Elvis. Then, of course, without giving away too much, the way it was written, you don't know what's going to happen till the last two seconds of the film. I love those movies.
From Nothing, Something (2012)
11:15am Sunday, Regal 3 Downtown
This one drew my initial attention because of its name– it seemed very Buddhist to me– and once I read the description I was sold. Novelists, scientists, rock stars and chefs describing their creative processes from inception to break through ideas. We could all use a little help along those lines right?
Fat Kid Rules the World (2012)
7pm Sunday, Newcomb Hall Theater
Some people are born pretty. This is a film about the opposite kind of person and someone who goes out of his way to change that. I was a punk rocker and had my fair share of depressed high school moments, enough to know that sometimes punk rock was the only thing that got me through. I owe angry music my life, at least through those high school years. I will be seeing this film for sure.
Faces in the Mirror (2012)
2:30pm Saturday, Newcomb Hall Theater
This film was directed by a friend of mine, Aaron Farrington, another Cvillian filmmaker and one who helped me with certain questions about editing and Final Cut [software] from time to time. Then the cast is made up of my friends and those so close I would call family. Finally, there is [Dave Matthews Band violinist] Boyd Tinsley. He is in my film, as well. He is an artist, a gentleman, and a philanthropist– what reason is there not to see this film?
Picker Eric Hurt
Charlottesville native Hurt's first claim to local fame was with the Spudnuts movie. He wrote and directed real-estate horror film House Hunting, screening at 10pm Saturday at the Paramount Theater.
The Harvest (2011)
3:45pm Friday, Regal 3 Downtown
This film is by a local filmmaker and friend, Gabe DeLoach. It's gotten great word-of-mouth reviews from people I trust, and the topic is extremely intriguing. A foundation that makes it possible for kids to kill a certain animal as a last wish… now that’s conflict.
The Duellists (1977)
2pm Saturday, Regal 4 Downtown
Classic Ridley Scott, that’s reason enough for me, especially with the bonus of it being on the big screen. It also stars the talented Keith Carradine, who will be in attendance. His insight during the Q and A makes it a must see for me.
The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)
10:30pm Thursday, the Paramount Theater
First of all it’s about a man with actual iron fists. That man is [Grammy Award-winning producer] RZA. I assume he punches... a lot. Good recipe for a great popcorn flick. The martial arts look fun, the cast is solid, and even though Eli Roth wrote it (blah), I suspect Quentin Tarantino, who has a hand in it, will fix Roth’s mistakes.
The Sessions (2012)
7:30pm Sunday, Paramount Theater
Sundance Audience winner, solid director (Ben Lewin), Virginia Film Festival closing film, William H. Macy and “Teardrop” (John Hawkes) from Winter's Bone. Everything is in this film’s favor. Not to mention there’s the local short film Singularity, opening this film (wink, wink).
Stand Up Guys (2012)
1pm Saturday, Paramount Theater
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin– these guys are all legends. It’s been an especially long time since I’ve seen Walken play a wise guy. That alone is worth the price of admission. I bet Alan Arkin will deliver a bunch of seemingly effortless one-liners that I’ll find myself quoting days after. It is preceded by a local short– Paul Wagner's Playing Through– that I’d like to see on the big screen as well!
Picker Eduardo Montes-Bradley
The prolific Argentine-born documentarian will be screening his latest film, Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement, at noon Sunday in Nau Auditorium.
5 Broken Cameras (2011)
6pm Saturday, Nau Auditorium
Anybody that can make a film around five broken cameras deserves my full and undivided attention. If you add to that the fact that Israeli, Dutch, Palestinian, and French co-producers had to agree on the subject, you have a winner. To make things more interesting, the film is not about broken cameras but rather about the non-violent protests in Israeli-occupied territory. In spite of the title and my love for cameras, I admit my suspicion that this film is not about the filmmaker’s gear. A must see.
The Invisible War (2012)
4:30pm Sunday, Nau Auditorium
This is the sort of documentary that one, I feel compelled to watch, two, I regret watching as it unfolds, and three, that will most likely have a profound impact on me later on. This is a film about the war within, the one fought by the women in our military against a male-dominant culture. As far as I can predict, I will hate listening to the stories of abuse. However, I will be there to support change and to confront my fears.
A Journey to Darfur (2007)
4pm Saturday, Nau Auditorium
A documentary comme il faut! A Journey to Darfur seems to have all the ingredients to make the Clooneys’ experience into a personal exposé of the injustices taking place in Western Sudan. However, just as with the Russian dolls, there’s a film within a film, one that I will most definitely be looking for: The journey of Nick and George Clooney as father and son. After all, I know what Darfur is all about while I still have yet to embark on that journey with my own father before it is too late.
The Other Side of the Ice (2012)
7:15pm Sunday, Nau Auditorium
Survival, adventure, ice, and a family crusade over the Northwest Passage will certainly put at ease my nervous system after the Middle East conflict in 5 Broken Cameras, the rape in the military, and the tragedies of Darfur. As long as it is not fiction, I’m happy. Moreover, the idea of gathering one’s own children after a bad divorce and embarking on a suicidal adventure with the sole purpose of making a documentary gets me so excited that I can taste the adrenaline a mile away.
Picker Gabriel DeLoach
DeLoach's documentary looks at the Make-a-Wish-like organization– Hunt of a Lifetime– for seriously ill kids who want to hunt. The Harvest screens at 3:45pm Friday at Regal 3 Downtown.
House Hunting (2012)
10pm Saturday, Paramount Theater
Every once in a while a man comes along and, against many odds, makes an independent thriller. Only this time I had the opportunity to work closely with director Eric Hurt and a crew of determined people that inspired me to stick around Charlottesville. I am seeing this film not only because it stars a childhood hero, Marc Singer, but also because this is my community, and I love it.
8:30pm Thursday, Regal 4 Downtown
A lot of films have come out of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, but few go so far to capture the raw, visceral sights and sounds of post-Katrina New Orleans as intimately as directors Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross with Tchoipitoulas, thanks to the perfect tour guides: three young boys so very eager for nocturnal adventure.
Photographic Memory (2012)
5pm Sunday, Vinegar Hill
Ross McElwee is an archeologist of his own life, as he's made that evident in his masterpieces Sherman's March and Bright Leaves. Photographic Memory is a continuation of manufacturing and discovering more pieces to the growing puzzle that McElwee has been trying to assemble, only this time it couldn't get much more personal than his attempt to relate his early, analog adulthood to that of his polar-opposite, digitally rebellious son. Many may relate, and should.
5pm Sunday, Regal 2 Downtown
This is a cinematic meditation on commercial fishing, so it is best to leave behind all you have learned from reality TV. Walk in to the theater patient and willing to be swept away by the poetic chaos. It will transform you.