[The Marfa Film Festival returns with more searing documentaries, exciting shorts and a little bit of something for everybody. Passes are still available; this promises to be thought-provoking cinema and quite a party. Go to marfafilmfestival.org to purchase your passes.]
6:30 at The Crowley Theater
SOY MI MADRE
Phil Collins, 2008, México, 28 min.
Relating to conceptual approaches to film and photography, Phil Collins investigates the nuances of social relations in various locations and global communities. In soy mi madre he works with telenovela, one of the most popular products of Latin America. The format exploits the world market through the articulation and preservation of cultural difference, while at the same time serving as a powerful tool of self-representation and the re-signification of the continent’s colonial legacy.
Shot in México City, soy mi madre is a telenovela-inspired tale of love, betrayal and family intrigue that examines the intricate power dynamics between unequals.
A cast of leading Mexican television stars take turns at playing a spoilt mistress of the house and her resentful servants, with a dark family secret boiling under the surface and leading to an inevitably dramatic finale. Revolving around the ideas of role-playing and performance, masks and mirrors, symbols and rituals, soy mi madre posits social roles as volatile and unbalanced, defined by their inherent potential for theatricality and violence. Including the contribution of the acclaimed production designer Salvador Parra (Volver, Before Night Falls), soy mi madre is a study in the aesthetics and politics of melodrama.
Cast: Patricia Reyes Spíndola, Verónica Langer, Zaide Silvia Guitérrez, Gina Morett, Sonia Couoh, Miriam Calderón, Dobrina Cristeva, Eileen Yáñez, Luis Cárdenas, Tenoch Huerta, Almadella, Montse
Phil Collins was born in Runcorn, UK, and is currently based in Berlin and Glasgow. His films, videos and photographic works have been shown in museums, galleries and at film festivals around the world. He was one of the recipients of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Visual Arts in 2001, a nominee for the Turner Prize in 2006 and a recipient of the DAAD Scholarship in Visual Art for 2008/2009.
7:30 at The Crowley Theater
USA Premiere, Enrique Rivero Huerta, 2008, México, 86 min.
Beto, the custodian of a modernist villa in Mexico City, lives in one small room in the house where he has worked for 30 years. The owner moved out ten years ago with the rest of her staff while Old Beto takes care of the garden, cleans the windows and polishes the kitchen as if life could start up again at any moment. The solitude of the last decade, as well as the monotony and routine of his job, has made him lead a secluded life.
He has developed a pathological fear for the exterior, to the point of limiting his contacts to only two people: the owner of the house, for whom he has a feeling of deep gratitude and respect that is translated into obedience; and Lupe, a friend, a confident and a lover. News that the house is to go on sale causes a dilemma for Beto, who doesn’t know whether to dare to set forth and live or to seek a way of remaining in his confinement. His solution is a most astonishing conclusion.
Stunning camera work by Arnau Valls Colomer sharply reveals the relationship between the fraying rooms of the house and its eternal inhabitant, but also between the different social classes. The fictional element in the film focuses on Beto’s relationship with the chaotic, violent world outdoors: México City.
Cast: Nolberto Coria, Nancy Orozco, Tesalia Huerta
Mexican director Enrique Rivero was born in Madrid in 1976. He has worked in different areas of film production, from photography to art, and was assistant director of Pedro Aguilera’s La Influencia (Director’s Fortnight Cannes 2007). As director, he has made two shorts: Nidra (2004) and Schhht (2005). Parque Vía is Rivero’s feature directorial debut, which garnered the Golden Leopard and FIPRESCI Award at Locarno International Film Festival 2008, and the Best Latin American Film and Audience Awards at the Ficco Festival in México City.
THURSDAY FILMS SCREENINGS
9:30AM At the crowley theater
Picasso & Braque Go to the Movies
Arne Glimcher, 2008, 62 min.
Introduction by Marianne Stockebrand, Director, The Chinati Foundation, Marfa
Produced by Martin Scorsese and Robert Greenhut, narrated by Martin Scorsese and directed by Arne Glimcher, Picasso and Braque is a virtual tour through the effects of the technological revolution, specifically the invention of aviation, the creation of cinema and their interdependent influence on Picasso and Braque’s invention of Cubism, the most radical shock in the history of Western Art. The film takes us from Picasso and Braque’s early work in Paris circa 1900 and the Exposition Universal where the wonders of Modernism were revealed, and into the artists’ studios. Picasso and Braque first met in 1907 when they had independently arrived at a similar place in their work. Soon their work would be virtually indistinguishable from each other and their lives would be inseparable.
“Bernice Rose, the former curator of Drawing at New York’s MoMA and I were working on a “Picasso and Drawing” exhibition for PaceWildenstein in 1995 and I confided my ideas about Picasso and the influence of early cinema on the structure of his imagery. Thus began our research for the film. Cubism evolved concurrent with the achievements of the Industrial Revolution and the inventions at the turn of the 20th century, specifically cinema and aviation. It was a time when permission was given to absorb popular culture into high art. I believe that endemic to Picasso’s career and the achievements of Braque and Picasso’s Cubist period was an innate competition that the artists had with film itself, a need to shatter the static image as the pulsing light of the cinematograph shattered space and time as we knew it.
“I hope that the film demonstrates that art and cinema became inextricably linked together beginning with Cubism and continuing into the present; and that the artist absorbed burgeoning technology in all of its facets and forms to create the new image of the 20th century.” – Arne Glimcher.
With: Martin Scorsese, Julian Schnabel, Lucas Samaras, Chuck Close, Adam Gopnik, Eric Fischl, Tom Gunning, Alexander Blaise, Robert Whitman, Cooje Van Bruggen, Owen Lund, John Yau, Natasha Staller, John Richardson . Associate Producer: Bernice Rose.
Arne Glimcher is the founder and chairman of the PaceWildenstein art gallery. He is also a published author, a film producer and a director, whose pictures include The Mambo Kings, Gorillas in the Mist, and Picasso & Braque Go to the Movies.
11:00am at the crowley theater
Diana Cordova, 2009, USA, 13 min.
Every Thursday night at a local Taco Cabana in El Paso, Texas, Manuel Nunez and friends put on a cross-dressing drag queen show titled “Samantha’s Travesti Show” while also informing their audience about why they chose their part-time profession. As individuals, these performers break numerous “borders” which range from societal to literal, as they cross over from Juarez, Mexico to perform for their fans. “There are people who don’t applaud and others who are apathetic to our show. We want people to laugh and have fun with us. It’s for people who want to forget ordinary life.”
With: Samantha, Viviana, & Zayda
Diana Cordova, a native of El Paso, films subjects from her hometown. She attended The University of Texas at El Paso, graduating in 2006 with a BA in Communication and a minor in Woman’s Studies. Her first film, Culinary Courtship (2007) screened at “The Good, the Bad and the Indie” in El Paso, TX.
Flowers in the Desert (Flores en el desierto)
USA Premiere, Jose Álvarez, 2009, México, 72 min.
The Wixarika culture (or Huichol) originates from the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango where more than 50,000 Huicholes currently live and practice their indigenous traditions. A group of huicholes wants a film made that portrays their religious and social customs, as they feel it is vital to preserve their culture for new generations.
The huicholes are pilgrims, deer hunters, and they eat peyote. Every year, the Huicholes embark on pilgrimages from the mountain ranges in Jalisco to places like the Wirikuta Desert in San Luis Potosí and to the Aramara Sea along the coast of San Blas, Nayarit. The filmmakers were extended the rare opportunity to follow the Huicholes from San Jose and Tesorero on their travels and document their daily lives over a two-year period.
Cast: Andrés Carrillo, Joaquín Bautista, Antonio Carrillo, José Bautista, Pedro Villa, Francisco Bautista
Jose Alvarez was born in the Mexico City in 1964. He studied Law at the University of Mexico and worked in radio for twelve years, among other stations he directed Radioactive 98.5 in México City. In 1996 he directed the documentary The Silence of Sarajevo and in 2006 his short film Venus won international recognition. Flowers in the Desert won a special mention by the jury at the International Film Festival of Morelia and competed in Guadalajara and Toulouse.
1:30 At the crowley theatre
USA Premiere, Terril Calder, 2009, Canada, 28 min.
Things had gone stale all around Ida Calder and her illusions had expired. All of her hope fermented. When things were no longer looking so lovely for her she decided to lock herself away as not to deface her youthful image. Canned Meat is set in a rural Canadian trailer park as we follow Ida on a surreal stop motion animated journey through the depths of her mind and body to discover if there was ever really a person in there?
Terril Calder is currently working with the challenge of making experimental stop-motion animated narrative shorts that exhibit her rural experiences and encompass a performance art feel. Calder is a Métis artist who was born in (Fort Frances) Northern Ontario where she studied drawing and performance in the fine arts program at the University of Manitoba. In Winnipeg she became a member of Video Pool through which she received training in video production. In Toronto Calder met the Shake Well performance art collective and joined them in various exhibitions that led to the founding of the 7a*11d International Performance Art festival in Toronto. She has lectured and taught Art through the years with various organizations that include the National Ballet School of Canada, Art in the Park program and the University of Manitoba. After receiving additional training in computer animation she is exploring the fusion of various disciplines; an amalgamation manifesting itself in video.
ROLL OUT, COWBOY
World Premiere, Elizabeth Lawrence, 2010, USA, 75 min.
Introduction by Tom Michael, Station Manager, KRTS, Marfa Public Radio
Chris “Sandman” Sand is a rappin’ cowboy from Dunn Center, North Dakota (population: 120 and shrinking). He drives a semi, plays the guitar and raps. He looks like Woody Guthrie but sings like no one else. Roll Out, Cowboy follows the 39-year-old country/hip-hop musician as he tours the American West during the 2008 Presidential election. Small town America isn’t as conservative as we think.
His tour van is broken, he bought his house for a thousand bucks, and the small farming town in which he lives is disappearing faster with each passing year. Roll Out, Cowboy’s Chris Sand is the face of the dying American West. Except for one thing: he raps. The Woody Guthrie protégé looks like a cowboy, talks like a cowboy, but writes songs like Dr. Dre. When hip hop music hit the airwaves of the North Dakota badlands, where Sand grew up, he learned to rap and rhyme to the pulse of baling machines and irrigation pumps. The result? A music fusion in the raw–country/hip hop/folk/rap/cowboy. Whatever you call it, it’s unique, fresh, sexy, and distinctly Western. The film follows Sandman the Rappin’ Cowboy as he travels from red state to blue and back again, blending discordant music genres into a style uniquely his own. Through him we see a part of America that remains immune to marketing campaigns, record labels, and consumerist politicking, as if it were the truth. We witness band break-ups, small town groupies—even a brief flirtation with commercial truck driving, when a particularly impoverished Sand needs to make ends meet. This is not the romanticized, Roy Rogers version of the American frontier. This is Sandman. The cowboy who raps.
With: Chris Sand. Music: Chris Sand
Elizabeth Lawrence, born 1980. Roll Out, Cowboy marks her directorial debut. Previous roles include production manager and line producer. She’s assisted producers and directors on films such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Underworld Evolution and The Last Kiss. Lawrence has written and directed numerous short films, including the award-winning Nightmarecrawlers and Beyond the Gates of Ill-Repute. Elizabeth currently lives in Los Angeles.
4:00 PM At the crowley theatre
Mara Mattuschka, Chris Haring, 2009, Austria, 32 min.
A stage, marble columns, the red curtain closes: “You only have a split second of a pose to multiply your transgression.” This first statement introducing the opening sequence sounds like provocative instructions. The game of five figures ensnared in erotic innuendos is more appearance than reality: the pornographic poses can be interpreted as sexual simply by the shadows they cast. In the glowing light, they are actually five protagonists warming up for a night in the Burning Palace Hotel.
The body as an eternally burning palace: Mara Mattuschka’s fourth collaboration with choreographer Chris Haring is sometimes evocative of David Lynch, while mostly remaining a blurred play of deceit. A dance performance in a hotel as a cinematic spectacle.
Cast: Stephanie Cumming, Alexander Gottfarb, Katharina Meves, Anna Maria Nowak, Luke Baio.
Mara Matuschka: Born in Bulgaria, resident of Vienna since 1976, Mattuschka is one of the most important experimental filmmakers in Europe; a link between Valie Export and the younger generation of avant-garde film artists in Austria today. A prolific filmmaker since the mid-80s, she has amassed a body of work comprising more than two-dozen films, which are among the most physical and tactile works in experimental cinema. Distinguished by their preoccupation with sexuality, their aggressive materiality, and their focus on the female body – usually Mattuschka’s own (she appears in many of her films under the guise of Mimi Minus) – which is aggressively manipulated, transformed, and attacked, by means of paint, ink, and other substances, as well as by various photographic effects. At once erotic and grotesque, transgressive and playful, her work is unmistakable and unforgettable.
Chris Haring (1970, Austria) studied psychology and attended music and dance courses in New York and London. He teaches dance in Austria and Germany. One of the main influences for his performances, such as Fremdkörper (nominated as best performance at Biennale de la Danse in Lyon 2004) is science fiction films and the human body as a cybernetic landscape. Recent works are the Lovely Liquid Lounge, focusing on the topic of transgression, and Das China Projekt in collaboration with Chinese choreographer Jin Xing.
FESTIVAL PROGRAMMERS’ FREE-STYLE HOUR
Robin & Ralph project a set starting where Mara & Chris leave off.
6:30 PM At the crowley theater
Art Elimination Project
World Premiere, Adam Bork, 2010, USA, 13 min.
Introduction by Tim Johnson, Marfa Book Co.
Marfa artist Adam Bork revisits twenty years of his visual art and destroys much of it in the process.
Adam Bork is a photographer, musician and filmmaker from Austin, Texas. He studied studio art at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas from 1988-1991 and photography at School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2000-2001. He currently resides in Marfa, Texas.
His still photographs have exhibited widely in solo shows and on award-winning album covers. His short films have screened in Austin, San Francisco, as well as at The Wichita Falls Museum of Art’s “Cherry Picked: A Survey of Texas Art and Artists.” His music videos for his own music and other bands, including Medeski,Martin and Wood have aired internationally. He was art director and cinematographer for the award-winning documentary Searching for Tony Joe and cinematographer for the feature-length documentary Wax, currently in post-production.
Adam has performed his music at numerous venues nationwide, incorporating slide shows of his own images alongside found images acquired at estate sales, thrift stores, eBay, etc. He’s currently working on multi-media projects and color field video installations that blend his original imagery and musical compositions with his growing archive of found stills and film footage.
Diane Bell, 2010, USA, 96 min.
“An utterly eccentric, movie-loving quasi-romance between two intellectual misfits living vastly out of their proper eras is so far off the grid of what is expected from a modern independent movie that it can truly be said to “rebel. It is a gorgeous work in which every frame has the appearance of having been handcrafted in an art studio. It centers on a man whose mindset is much older than his years, a fellow who, convinced the world is going to end sooner rather than later, devotes himself to collecting obsolete things and writing a compendium about them. Although he’ll use a computer in the library where he works, he won’t own one; he prefers a manual typewriter, uses a rotary phone, doesn’t drive (although he lives in Los Angeles, albeit a wonderfully unrecognizable and car-deprived version of it) and fills his home with all manner of faded or useless objects. A beautiful drifter working as cinema projectionist at a silent movie theater, more of this world than he, approves of his sympathies and takes him on an eventful road trip to Death Valley, a place that potentially resembles what the rest of the world will look like in future.” – Todd McCarthy, Variety
“The journey of George and Sophie is one in which two people come together to confront mortality – not just their own, but also the world’s. And in doing so, they perhaps each find a new and better way of being in the world, even though it is not together. There is no “happy ever after” – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “I started out wanting to make a film about change and how we deal with it. The rate of change is ever-faster, new things become old in months not years. When I was a kid, a TV was a big investment, and you expected to have it for twenty years. Now you buy a laptop, knowing it will be a dinosaur in two. I can’t help feeling that this rapacious pace of consumption is linked to the climate change challenge we all now face.” – Diane Bell
Cast: Michael Piccirilli, Gaynor Howe, Frank Hoyt Taylor, Chris Byrne
Diane Bell is a writer and director currently residing in Santa Monica, CA. Originally from Scotland, she grew up in Japan, Australia and Germany. She later earned a Masters degree in Mental Philosophy from Edinburgh University. In 2006, she optioned her first solo effort screenplay, and relocated to Los Angeles from Barcelona, Spain. Since then, she has written four more original screenplays, including one with director John McTiernan (Die Hard). She is a long-time practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga and Buddhist meditation, which undoubtedly influence her work. She opened the first Ashtanga-dedicated yoga studio in Barcelona in 2000, and studied yoga in India with the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Obselidia is her first film.
9:30 PM AT EL COSMICO
World Premiere, Jennifer Lane, 2010. USA, 7 min.
A lyrical meditation on earth’s resources set to a layered electronic soundtrack. Vivid images of the unique and varied cloud formations of far West Texas are accompanied by voice-over narration describing the life cycles of our planet in the manner of an educational film.
Jennifer Lane was born in August of 1968 in Dallas and currently lives and works in Marfa. She studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Her films, videos, and drawings have been exhibited at the Castillo Di Rivoli in Turin, the ZKM Center for Experimental Media and Technology in Karlsruhe, the Royal College of Art in London, the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Miami International Film Festival, the Austin Film Society, and on Japanese television.
The Sun Ship Game
Texas Premiere, Robert Drew, 1969, USA, 83 min.
Introduction by Burt Compton, Marfa Gliders
“The definitive “soaring film” Robert Drew’s long-lost masterpiece features George Moffat and Gleb Derujinsky, master pilots in competition for the 1969 U.S. National Soaring Championship in Marfa, Texas. With breathtaking photography and uncommon intimacy the film voyages with both pilots into the sky at a regional contest in Vermont and into wild weather with eighty-three other competitors in Marfa, Texas. Through eight days of hard flying in skies alternately filled with brilliant beauty and black violence, their two approaches arrive at a dramatic conclusion and one of them is named the U.S. Champion. Unavailable in any form until now.” – Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2010
Before entering the film industry, Drew was a WWII-era fighter pilot and then spent many years as a correspondent, photographer, and editor at Life magazine. He began his signature candid filmmaking style with PRIMARY in 1960. A breakthrough in documentary filmmaking, it is the first film in which the sync-sound motion picture camera was utilized to move around freely with its subject – in this case, a young senator John F. Kennedy. After PRIMARY, Drew continued utilizing the same candid style to capture frank and honest portraits, such as those of a U.S. President making tough decisions (CRISIS), a jazz legend composing quietly at his piano (ON THE ROAD WITH DUKE ELLINGTON), NASA scientists as they guide spacecraft to Mars and astronauts in space (NASA), and many others. Drew has received numerous awards including an Emmy and a Peabody, and recognition at major film festivals such as Venice and Cannes. Drew was honored with the IDA Career Achievement Award in 1993 for his contribution to documentary filmmaking.
FRIDAY FILMS SCREENINGS
10:00 AM At the crowley theatre
A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL
Chris Browne, 2001, Jamaica, 48 min.
An engrossing, behind-the-scenes story of the making of The Harder They Come, charting Perry Henzell’s journey from the initial concept for the film to the years of selling his vision (and film) to the world. From his first conversation in Treasure Beach with financier Frank Pringle through two years of on and off production (principals would disappear, sometimes to jail), tales of improvisation (shooting shoot outs with one gun, the only one they had), to the successful release in Jamaica, the precarious opening in London and the great reviews at film festivals, A Hard Road to Travel tells it all. It is the story of Perry’s drive, commitment and belief that the world would embrace his Jamaican story.
With: Dicky Jobson, Carl Bradshaw, Trevor Rhone, Pat Rousseou, Frank Pringle, Chris Blackwell, Chappie St.Juste, Sally Henzell, Barbara Blake Hanna
In the summer holiday of 1982, Chris Browne worked as assistant to his uncle, Perry Henzell, on No Place Like Home, deciding then on a career in film and switching from The Atlanta College of Art in the states Film and went to The Art Institute of Chicago, then on to Columbia College in Chicago. Upon finishing his studies, he returned to Jamaica to work for various foreign film companies that used Jamaica as a location. In between, Browne utilized his time, money and talents to write, produce and direct his own short films. Browne co-wrote and directed for Palm Pictures of Island Jamaica his first feature film, THIRD WORLD COP (1999), the highest grossing film ever released in Jamaica. Browne won the Harltey-Merrill International Screenwriting Competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 for his screenplay Ghett’a Life, which he is currently producing and directing in Kingston, Jamaica
11:30 AM At the crowley theatre
THE DRY LAND
Ryan Piers Williams, 2010, USA, 92 min.
Introduction by Austin Film Festival representative
A young American soldier, James, returns home from a tour of duty in Iraq. Having not found the direction and purpose he sought from the service, James hurls himself back into his old life and finds it no longer fits. He tries to reconcile his experiences abroad with his life in rural Texas, but despite the support of his wife, his mother and friend he is unable to settle in. James turns to an Army buddy for help and together they travel the country in search of redemption. Thinking that the war was behind him, James comes to realize that the fight for his life has only begun.
Cast: Ryan O’nan, America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, Jason Ritter, Melissa Leo, June Diane Raphael, Diego Klattenhoff, Evan Jones, Benito Martinez, Ana Claudia Talancón, Ethan Suplee, Barry Shabaka Henley
Ryan Piers Williams was born and raised in El Paso, TX. He graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Upon graduation, he worked for Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney on several of their productions including Ocean’s 12 & 13, Goodnight, and Good Luck and The Good German. Williams has written and directed over 10 short films. In 2004, he was awarded a grant from the Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund and a grant from Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program, both of which were used to make his short film, Muertas, which played over fourteen festivals. Williams wrote and directed his first feature, The Dry Land, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in the Dramatic Competition.
2:00 PM At the crowley theatre
Texas Premiere, Nathan Fisher, 2010, USA/Canada, 74 min.
Iraq’s continuing middle-class refugee disaster is a crucial but unacknowledged reason why peace in Iraq remains so elusive. Forty percent of Iraq’s professional class is now displaced in neighboring countries. This is an unmitigated disaster for Iraq, a shattered nation that desperately needs its native professional class to help rebuild.
The Unreturned, filmed in Syria and Jordan, lets the displaced Iraqi middle class speak for itself. Shot in verité style, the film vividly portrays the lives of five displaced Iraqis from different ethnicities and religions. Caught in an absurdist purgatory of endless bureaucracy, dwindling life savings, and forced idleness, these refugees nevertheless radiate vitality and warmth. With an unflinching eye, candid dialogue, and a subtle touch of humor, The Unreturned captures scenes of daily life that are both personal and illustrative of the larger issues facing Iraq.
With: Abu Abbas, a Sunni chef who once owned a restaurant in Baghdad and now runs an underground catering business in Amman. Majid, an Assyrian Christian and former translator for the US Army whose application for asylum in the United States has been denied. Maher, a Sunni mechanical engineer who was threatened by insurgents for accepting American rebuilding contracts. Najlaa, a Mandean health-care worker who splits her time between a community center for Iraqis and monitoring the refugee population in a village outside Amman on behalf of a Japanese NGO. Battling exhaustion, Najlaa just wants her old career back. Haithem, a 10-year-old Shiite boy who fled Iraq after his father disappeared. Instead of attending school, he supports his mother and sisters by selling food on the street.
Nathan Fisher received an MA in documentary film from the New School in New York. He previously was a producer and assistant editor for Gimme Delta! (2008), a documentary on suburban development and urban sprawl in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Unreturned is his first major feature documentary.
4:30 PM At the crowley theatre
World Premiere, Nathan Christ, 2010, USA, 88 min.
Austin is known worldwide as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” But what exactly does this mean? As nearly two dozen high-rises pop up throughout the city amidst an economic downfall, how does the working musician get along? This lyrical documentary provides a telescopic view in the lives of Austin’s vibrant young musicians as they grapple with questions of artistic integrity, commercialism, experimentation, and the future of their beloved city. Echotone is a cultural portrait of the modern American city examined through the lyrics and lens of its creative class.
There is rising star soul revivalist Black Joe Lewis selling out concert halls by night and delivering fish by day. There’s Cari Palazzolo of synth pop sensation Belaire, poised for commercial success, but conflicted over the thought of her music turning into a commodity. Then there is experimental troubadour Bill Baird, whose band Sound Team enjoyed a major label deal with Capitol Records and was subsequently dropped after one album. Interweaving the tales of these young artists to form a mosaic illustrating the universal struggle many contemporary fringe cultures are experiencing.
With Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization as a primary influence, Echotone explores the world of Austin’s vibrant music culture as it struggles to balance notions of artistic integrity and sustainability amidst an economic, cultural, and political paradigm shift.
With: Black Joe Lewis, Cari Palazzolo, Bill Baird
Nathan Christ’s work casts a lens on the struggles for expression and freedom among independent cultures. Whether his subjects are exonerated death row inmates, independent working musicians, or young, broke American travelers adrift in the Muslim world, Nathan thrives on the fringe. One of his current projects features a novel-length memoir called Migrations and an accompanying film based on his bohemian travels from Holland to West Africa in a Volkswagen van. The project has generated much interest among New York-based literary agencies and is awaiting the next stage of editing. Echotone is Nathan’s first feature film.
6:30 At the crowley theatre
JUST A MEANING THAT YOU ATTRIBUTE TO IT
North American Premiere, Bernadette Anzengruber, 2009, Austria, 10 min.
The title addresses the viewer, and indeed, everyone must deal with their own ideas and suspicions from the very beginning. The young woman’s breasts appear shapely at first; the artist then deforms them with increasingly wild hopping and jumping around. At some point it turns out that the reason for this obviously strenuous activity, rather than to display her charms, is to shake off or otherwise get rid of her breasts. But before she succeeds, the viewer is forced to spend ten long minutes with her and entertain any number of personal ideas. The artist struggles with her body, literally destroying dreams of a physical ideal as presented by the mass media.
Bernadette Anzengruber, born 1980 in Grieskirchen, Austria. 2005/2006 department of Art History at the University of Vienna and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Since 2006 Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. 2007 and 2009 scholarships to the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg. Numerous performances and exhibitions, Just a Meaning… is her first film.
THE YEAR OF THE CARNIVORE
International Premiere, Sook-Yin Lee, 2009, Canada, 88 min.
A romantic-comedy-drama about a girl with an unrequited crush on a boy who thinks she’s bad in bed, so she goes out to get more ‘experience’. Sammy Smalls is a 21-year-old tomboy who works as a store detective at Big Apple Food Town. Her job is to deliver shoplifters to her boss who beats them up so they never re-offend. Sammy feels guilty over her part in the dodgy scheme and wants to quit, but she doesn’t have many options. She certainly isn’t moving back home to live with her unhappy and over-protective parents. Meanwhile, Sammy is head over heels for a scruffy street musician. He’s perfect for her, funny, irreverent and sensitive, but the problem is, he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. After a disastrous one-night stand that goes beyond the boundaries of their friendship, he suggests they play the field to get more experience. Following his advice, Sammy hatches a plan catapulting her on a quest that takes her through her neighbors’ bedroom, the public swimming pool, and finally to blackmailing shoplifters into giving her sex lessons. “
The title refers to the year Sammy takes a bite of life and has her heart bitten. I like the interplay between the words “carnal” and “carnivore”, the multiple meanings of what it means to devour and be devoured in the human food chain. Year of the Carnivore is a decidedly anti-romantic love story, and homage to clumsy, young lovers.” – Sook-Yin Lee
Cast: Cristin Milioti, Mark Rendall, Will Sasso, Sheila McCarty, Kevin McDonald, Ali Liebert
Born and raised in Vancouver, Sook-Yin Lee is a Toronto-based musician, actor, filmmaker and media personality. She fronted the art-rock band, Bob’s Your Uncle before embarking on a solo career. The former MuchMusic VJ hosts the irreverent arts and culture radio show Definitely Not the Opera on CBC Radio 1. Her award winning short films have screened internationally. Sook-Yin stars in Shortbus, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, which premiered at Cannes 2006. Recently, she wrote, directed and acted in The Brazilian, a chapter in the movie Toronto Stories. Year of the Carnivore is her feature film screenplay and directorial debut.
9:30 PM At EL COSMICO
Texas Premiere, Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew, 2009, USA/Germany/Ethiopia, 89 min.
Running the streets of Rome in 1960, an unknown, barefoot Ethiopian man stunned the world by winning Olympic gold in the marathon. Overnight, Abebe Bikila became a legend. A hero in his own country and to the continent, Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal and, four years later in Tokyo, the first person to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the marathon. This solider and quiet son of a shepherd is considered by many the greatest long-distance runner in history.
But his life story only began with Olympic medals. One evening while returning to his home in Addis Ababa after training in the Ethiopian countryside, fate would present this remarkable champion with his greatest challenge; to dig deep within, not just to run the next mile, but to find the will to live. The race of his life had a new beginning and would lead him to places he could never have imagined.
Shot in 35mm from the Arctic Circle to the Equator by a crew representing ten nations, the film is an extraordinary narrative feature that seamlessly blends autobiography, biopic, drama and documentary. Made jointly by American and Ethiopian filmmakers, Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew, this unique collaboration beautifully captures the essence of the main character and his world of ancient serenity and majestic landscapes. After the film’s sold-out premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2009, where it won “Best of Fest”, the film has traveled to a number of top international film festivals.
Davey Frankel is a New York aural-visual artist, now based in Berlin. His CV reads like a who’s who of downtown NYC culture, from working with filmmaker Jem Cohen and editing indie films under Ang Lee’s Good Machine banner to creating the visual accompaniments to Tan Dun’s The Crouching Tiger Concerto, with Yo-Yo Ma and Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings symphony. A subsequent documentary about water resource management in Kenya made for the United Nations brought Frankel back to his first love and what would become Atletu. Rasselas Lakew was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His early life was that of an athlete. He studied in the USA where he played Division 1 NCAA tennis. Interested in filmmaking, he did his post-grad studies at the University of Montana where the seed for the Abebe Bikila story was planted. After years of research, development, writing and shooting, Atletu is Lakew’s debut feature film.
SATURDAY FILMS SCREENINGS
9:00 AM At the crowley theatre
NOT JUST FOR KIDS
combined program, approx. 45 min., programmed by David Hollander and Jennifer Lane
Not Just For Kids features the films of local Marfa children, whose SITES (Studio In The Elementary School) art curriculum includes a workshop on the technique of direct animation. The sixth graders’ handmade films will be shown alongside the films of Al Jarnow, whose innovative animated shorts will be recognizable to adults raised on Sesame Street and 3-2-1 Contact in the 70s and 80s. Jarnow’s work comes to the MFF courtesy of a new compilation on DVD by The Numero Group. Complimentary milk and cereal will be served. This program is FREE and open to the public.
10:30 AM At the crowley theatre
Texas Premiere, Robert Arnold, Cynthia Mitchell, 2009, 16 min.
A man, a young woman and a Chevy pick-up truck in a vast desert landscape. Perched on the tailgate two extremely sympathetic actors make mysterious, elliptical use of sign language to say something about movies. Pure, simple and powerful.
Cast: Sheena McFeely, Sonny Smith.
Robert Arnold, Producer/Co-Director, has worked as an editor, director and director of photography. His documentary, The Key of G, aired nationally on PBS in 2007 and is now in educational distribution. All Animals is his first narrative film. Cynthia Mitchell, Writer/CoDirector, has written for both stage and film. In 2009 her play The Exchange was translated into French and ran for a month to great reviews in Paris. Arnold and Mitchell are currently wrapping up production on a new short narrative they are co-directing entitled Annabelle.
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A LONE STAR STATE
USA Premiere, Joseph Saito, 2009, USA, 22 min.
Wyatt Kinney, who — with the death of his older brother Gus — is the last surviving Kinney. Finding himself alone, he takes to the road in search of a family connection long left fallow: Gus’s illegitimate daughter Jolene. However, Wyatt finds that introductions are tricky business as Jolene turns out to be more than he expected. A Texas road film and gender satire about the things we do to settle the past…in order to move on.
Cast: Jon Gries, Abigail Savage, Rebecca Henderson, Amy Jackson-Lewis, Melinda DeKay, Frank Matthews, Karen Jager, Lewis Sarkozi
Joseph Toshihide Saito was raised on a cactus nursery in rural Southern California, and was born to a Japanese father and a Korean mother, both of whom were post WWII immigrants looking for a better life. After receiving a BA in Art and Media Studies from Pitzer College, Joseph worked as a UCLA research assistant traveling the United States conducting video field interviews of Vietnam-era vets suffering from PTSD. This furthered his interest in communication through media — such that he entered into the IFP/West Project: Involve Program where mentors included writer/director Christopher Nolan and editor Dody Dorn. He then enrolled in the graduate film program at New York University. A Lone Star State is his MFA thesis film. He currently resides in Brooklyn.
THE BIG BENDS
Jason William Marlow, 2010, USA, 14 min.
After being diagnosed with a terminal disease, Warren chooses to pass his remaining days isolated in the Badlands of Big Bend. Within the vast landscape he locks himself inside of a small camper trailer and waits for death. The hush is broken as he is faced with a troubled Mexican couple crossing the border.
Cast: Jimmy Lee Jr., Giovanni Antonello, Rocio Garza, Dr. James D. Lueke, Berta Martinez, Mario A. Martinez
Jason Marlow is making his debut as a writer and director with The Big Bends, but is no stranger to narrative film. His first work in narrative was as Creative Generalist on the award-winning feature Ballast. Since then he has worked on various films and animations but most importantly has been developing his voice as a storyteller. His stories are collections of questions that often involve geography, borders, identity and intersecting cultures. Jason lives and works in his hometown, Austin, Texas. Currently he is revising his first feature that takes place between Mississippi and Paris.
World Premiere, Luke Davies, 2010, USA, 19 min.
While traversing the plains outside Marfa, Tom, a British graduate student, encounters Shane, a laconic boy that desperately needs a ride to town. The boy’s sudden disappearance unlocks a mystery seemingly playing out in a timeless space, and brings Tom one-step closer to understanding his own fate. “I wanted to make a simple, haunted poem of a film.” – Luke Davies
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Felix Benton, S.A. Griffin
Luke Davies is an internationally celebrated writer, the author of three novels, four volumes of poetry and a co-writer, with Neil Armfield, of the feature film Candy. Davies’ most recent poetry collection, Totem, won numerous prestigious awards. Davies’ novels are the cult best-seller Candy, Isabelle the Navigator and God of Speed. Candy has been published internationally. Davies co-wrote the screenplay adaptation of Candy with director Neil Armfield. It starred Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush and premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. In addition to the adaptation, Davies had a one-line role in the film, as a milkman. Davies is currently writing other screenplays, working as a film critic, and occasional book critic and essayist for magazines and newspapers. In 2010 a new volume of poetry will be published by Allen & Unwin, and a children’s book by ABC Books. Davies’ directorial debut in feature documentary is Diary of a Milkman.
1:30 PM At the crowley theatre
Amy Grappell, USA, 2010, 18 min.
Introduction by Rob Weiner, Associate Director, Chinati Foundation
An older couple on Long Island remember their long-term communal marriage with another family in the 60s. They are confessing this on camera to their children. “In 1969, my family moved from Flatbush, Brooklyn to the suburbs of Long Island, in pursuit of the American Dream. When I was seven, my unhappily married, middle class parents met another couple at the beach club and began a four-way love affair.” – Amy Grappell. From Sundance to Rotterdam, SXSW to New Directors/New Films, Quadrangle has become one of the most highly praised independent films of the year, deservedly so.
Amy Grappell holds a BA in film from New York University and is a graduate of the acting program at The North Carolina School of the Arts. She has produced written, directed and acted in feature-length documentaries, narratives and shorts. In 1997 she produced, co-wrote and acted in Shady Grove, an independent feature film that and won the audience award at the Karlovy Vary film festival in the Czech Republic and Best First Feature in Portugal. Amy worked as a producer and casting director with Richard Linklater’s production company Detour Films and on the critically acclaimed MTV television series Austin Stories. Her first feature-length documentary (Fire in the East, 2006) explores the transition from communism to democracy in Eastern Europe.
Fanny, Annie & Danny
Texas Premiere, Chris Brown, 2010, USA, 82 min.
Fanny is a mentally disabled 39-year-old living in a home for dependent adults. Her world starts to implode when the candy factory where she works goes bankrupt. The oldest of three children, Fanny has long been a source of strain and resentment within her family. Her jittery sister Annie has spent her life taking care of her, while their successful but elusive brother Danny has thus far escaped responsibility. When the three siblings are forced by their powerful mother to reunite for a holiday dinner, everyone’s worst fears are realized. As with a tsunami building strength silently offshore, we sense the impending climax without knowing exactly when it will hit – or how hard. The film is about the volatile, sometimes sweet, sometimes toxic ecosystem of family life. “
…Filmmaker Chris Brown has been compared to director John Cassavetes for his ability to peel back the skin of his characters in a way that feels both disturbingly intimate and deeply real. In Brown’s latest, finely-crafted feature, Fanny, Annie & Danny are troubled adult siblings brought together by their horrific mother for the Christmas holiday. Like just about everything in Brown’s work, what seems commonplace on the surface becomes riveting in the details.”– B. Marshland
Cast: Jill Pixley, Carlye Pollack, Jonathan Leveck, Colette Keen, George Killingsworth, Nick Frangione
Chris Brown is an independent filmmaker based in San Francisco. His work has screened on television and in festivals around the world, winning such honors as Best Narrative, Best Comedy, Best of Fest, Best Adaptation and Most Promising Filmmaker. Of his most recent film, Scared New World, audiencemag.com wrote, “…it goes to prove what genius can do when pressed.” VARIETY added that the film rests “solidly in the tradition of pioneer indie pics like Cassavetes’ Shadows…fests looking to showcase new Amerindie talent should take note.” Chris’s previous films include Daughters, Lost Cat, Office Furniture, And Another Thing, and Battleship Contempkin. By night, Chris is a singer/songwriter. His debut album Now That You’re Fed was voted “One of the Top 10 albums of 2006” by a dozen music critics.
4:00 PM At the crowley theatre
Al Jarnow, 1979, USA, 2 min.
One billion years boils down to two minutes as cities rise and fall, continents erode and an ice age passes.
Al Jarnow is a painter, filmmaker, software developer, exhibit designer, educator and tinkerer. Studied pre-med, architecture and fine arts at Dartmouth College and at Brooklyn Musuem of Art School. His filmworks are in the collections of MoMA (NY), the Met and the Pompidou Center and have shown in theaters, schools and festivals around the world. He’s received production grants from NEA, NYSCA and NYFA. Jarnow produced and directed hundreds of animations for PBS science specials and CTW”s Sesame Street & 3-2-1 Contact.