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Home International Cinema Fantasy Soccer & Dystopian Future: AFI FEST + Czech Cinema + ‘Wanton Female Desire’

Fantasy Soccer & Dystopian Future: AFI FEST + Czech Cinema + ‘Wanton Female Desire’

Heath Ledger The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. One of this year’s AFI FEST offerings along with “fantasy soccer” by way of Looking for Eric, Viggo Mortensen’s dystopian reality in The Road, and phone sex surprises via Easier with Practice.
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

AFI FEST 2009 highlights, Nov. 2:

  • Daniel Raim’s documentary Something’s Gonna Live, which features interviews with several behind-the-scenes veterans, including Robert Boyle, Conrad L. Hall, and Haskell Wexler
  • Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which marks Heath Ledger’s last film appearance
  • Asghar Farhadi’s drama About Elly, winner of the Silver Bear for best director at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival
  • Andrea Arnold’s family drama Fish Tank, winner of the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
  • Bahman Ghobadi’s No One Knows About Persian Cats, about the obstacles faced by a couple of Iranian teenagers trying to form a rock band in an Islamic country
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s absurd(ist?) chase flick North by Northwest, celebrating its 50th anniversary

Schedule and synopses from the AFI FEST website:

Something’s Gonna Live

Mann Chinese Theatre 1, 4:00 p.m.

AFI alumnus Daniel Raim (Oscar-nominated for his short documentary, THE MAN ON LINCOLN’S NOSE) explores the artistry and personalities of acclaimed production designers (and pals) Robert “Bob” Boyle, Henry Bumstead, Harold Michelson and Albert Nozaki, along with master cinematographers Haskell Wexler and Conrad L. Hall. Raim joins these artists at the twilight of their years, exploring their creative growth, their mortality, the values they wish to pass on, and their hopes for the future. A riveting look at the humanity and creativity that helped shape films like THE BIRDS, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, STAR TREK and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE is an intimate story of life, death, friendship and cinema. Robert F. Boyle, Hitchcock’s longtime designer, a 2008 Honorary Oscar recipient and Distinguished Lecturer at AFI, turns 100 on October 10. –Lane Kneedler

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Graumann’s Chinese Theatre, 7:00 pm

Set in the present day, Gilliam’s fantastical morality tale tells the story of a travelling show where the audience gets an irresistible opportunity to travel into their imaginations, guided by the extraordinary Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer). An inveterate gambler, Parnassus made a bet thousands of years ago with the devil (Tom Waits), in which he won immortality. Centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Parnassus made another deal, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his daughter reached her 16th birthday, she would become the property of the devil. As Valentina (Lily Cole) rapidly approaches this milestone, the desperate Parnassus talks the devil into one final wager. Encountering a series of wild, comical and compelling characters (including the trickster Tony, played by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell), Parnassus fights to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles, hoping to undo the mistakes of his past once and for all.

About Elly

Mann Chinese Theatre 6, 7:00 pm

Fish Tank

Mann Chinese Theatre 3, 7:00 pm

Deepening her exploration of the British working class on view in her Oscar-winning 2003 short film WASP and her 2006 Cannes Jury Prize-winning feature debut, RED ROAD, Andrea Arnold evokes the social realist tradition and influence of the gritty British New Wave films of the ’50s and ’60s.

FISH TANK features a remarkable acting debut by Katie Jarvis as Mia, a brash 15-year-old on the cusp of coming of age sexually. The cheap public housing block where Mia lives with her single mother and younger sister can barely contain their bad behavior and brutal affection, let alone her mum’s new boyfriend (HUNGER’s Michael Fassbender). With headphones on, Mia finds an escape route through dance and the calm of Constable’s pastoral Essex countryside, where the wasteland is transformed into waves of grass and miles of sky. Winner of the 2009 Cannes Jury Prize. –Jacqueline Lyanga

No One Knows About Persian Cats

Mann Chinese Theatre 1, 10:00 pm

A Lake

Mann Chinese Theatre 6, 10:00 pm


Mann Chinese Theatre 3, 10:00 pm

Tonight, Wed., Nov. 4, at AFI FEST 2009 in Hollywood:

  • The Road has been getting a lot of Oscar buzz for star Viggo Mortensen, director John Hillcoat, and for the film itself, a futuristic father-son adventure drama set in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • In Eduardo Coutinho’s documentary Moscow, the director of a theater group in Brazil’s third largest city sets out to stage a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
  • Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s Easier with Practice sounds like an unusual road movie, one in which a book author (Brian Geraghty) traveling with his brother (Kel O’Neill) becomes emotionally attached to a sexy voice on the phone. Could his brother have something to do with that what-are-you-wearing caller, or …?
  • I don’t recall hearing of Japanese director Sabu (the only Sabu I know of is the one from Jungle Book and Elephant Boy), but “Sergei Eisenstein put into a blender with Busby Berkeley”? That turns Sabu’s manga-inspired Kanikosen into a must-see

Film schedule and information from the AFI FEST website:

The Road

Graumann’s Chinese Theatre – 7:00 p.m.


Mann Chinese Theatre 1 – 10:00 pm

Easier with Practice

Mann Chinese Theatre 6 – 10:00 pm

Based on David Rothbart’s autobiographical article for GQ magazine, Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s debut feature follows young author Davy (an excellent Brian Geraghty) as he embarks, skeptical brother in tow, on a book tour for his self-published collection of short stories. In a motel one night, he receives a call from a complete stranger. What begins as kinky, anonymous phone sex morphs into something that feels like a romance, and as Davy navigates tricky new emotional landscapes, he begins damaging other key relationships. Alvarez has created a film that’s innovative and striking both visually and structurally. From its opening scene—a montage of romance novel covers—to its startling conclusion, this determinedly independent film defies our expectations, carrying us along on a surprising exploration of the universal need for love, and the difficulties some of us have finding it. –Lane Kneedler


Mann Chinese Theatre 3 – 10:00 pm

Though famed at home for his wacky comedies, the 45-year-old Japanese actor/director Sabu remains virtually unknown in the US. His latest, inspired by a 1929 left-wing agitprop novel that became sensationally popular after being translated into Manga genre graphic fiction, veers in striking, politically motivated new directions while retaining moments of his outlandish brand of humor. The film follows the workers on a crab-canning ship who are brutally, mercilessly exploited by callous corporate bosses. Shiro, an enigma among them, doesn’t complain or lament, but he does suggest they regain their dignity. First, he proposes mass suicide (in a scene that Sabu, amazingly, manages to mutate into slapstick comedy). After Shiro and a buddy are rescued at sea by a Russian ship, Sabu choreographs an astonishing dance sequence. How to describe KANIKOSEN’s strange splendors? Imagine Sergei Eisenstein put into a blender with Busby Berkeley. –Rose Kuo

AFI FEST 2009 highlights on Thursday, Nov. 5:

  • Robert Barry Ptolemy’s Transcendent Man sounds fascinating: Futurist Ray Kurzweil discusses the just-around-the-corner impact of human technology, which has been growing exponentially. Imagine a world without death, hunger, disease. (Well, I’m assuming all those great things will happen if humans don’t self-destruct first. After all, all lab studies indicate that human imbecility is growing even faster than the species’ technological advances – talk about a scientific paradox; someone should come up with a documentary about that.)
  • Directed by Tom Ford, A Single Man stars 2009 Venice Film Festival winner Colin Firth, who’ll quite likely receive an Oscar nod come next February. Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, and Nicholas Hoult co-star. Set in Los Angeles in the early ’60s, when homosexuality was still considered a mental illness and homosexual acts were illegal (now it’s only gay marriage and gay groping in public places that are illegal – talk about progress…), A Single Man revolves around one day in the life of a gay college professor whose lover has unexpectedly died.
  • Former soccer star Eric Cantona means nothing to me – I’d never heard of him until I read about Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric. But perhaps one doesn’t need to know Cantona or be a soccer fan to appreciate Loach’s fairy-tale about a postal worker (Steve Evets) whose down-in-the-dumps life makes a turnaround after he gets visited by Guardian Angel Cantona.
  • Zhao Liang’s Petition shows how vicious people in power can be: Set in China, the documentary depicts the plight of those protesting the ruthless actions of Chinese authorities.

Schedule and film information from the AFI FEST website:

Transcendent Man

Mann Chinese Theatre 6 – 4:00 pm

Are we poised at the precipice for a new stage in human evolution? This is the theory proposed by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, the central and deeply complex subject of Robert Barry Ptolemy’s debut feature. In his non-fiction bestselling The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil posits that human technological advancement is moving forward at such an exponential rate that the human experience will soon be incomprehensible to those living today. His central idea, “The Singularity,” imagines humanity approaching a post-human phase. In the near future, we will no longer be slaves to disease, hunger or even mortality. Though post-human society has been depicted in science fiction, Kurzweil realistically examines the possibilities and consequences of advanced AI, genetics research and robotics. While meticulously observing Kurzweil the man, who is all too mortal, Ptolemy also grants voice to his critics. His film offers a compelling model of scientific inquiry as played out in the popular arena. –Lane Kneedler

A Single Man

Graumann’s Chinese Theatre – 7:00 pm

Unfolding on a single day in Los Angeles in 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, this story follows George Falconer, a 52-year old British college professor (Colin Firth) who struggles to find meaning after the death of his long time partner. Dwelling on the past and unable to see his future, George is consoled by his closest friend Charley (Julianne Moore), a 48-year-old beauty who is wrestling with her own questions about the future, and stalked by Kenny (Nicholas Hoult), a young student coming to terms with his own true nature. Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, and featuring splendid performances and precise, gorgeous design on every level, Tom Ford’s acclaimed debut is a romantic tale of love interrupted, the isolation that is an inherent part of the human condition and ultimately the importance of the seemingly smaller moments in life.

Looking for Eric

Mann Chinese Theatre 1 – 7:00 pm


Mann Chinese Theatre 6 – 7:00 pm

Nov. 5

AFI FEST 2009 continues in a more compact version on Friday and Saturday at the Santa Monica Laemmle Theater 4 on 2nd Street in Santa Monica. There’ll be only four screenings per day, with the last one starting at 5:00 p.m.

The screening films on Friday, Nov. 6, are:

  • Japanese filmmaker Sabu’s Kanikosen, described as “Sergei Eisenstein put into a blender with Busby Berkeley.”
  • João Pedro Rodrigues’ To Die Like a Man, a chronicle of a Lisbon drag queen who has been living as a woman for decades, but ends up meeting her maker as a man. Rodrigues is the director of the intriguing O Fantasma.
  • Jiri Barta’s stop-motion fairy tale In the Attic, about a couple of dolls who set out to rescue another doll that has been kidnapped.
  • Corneliu Porumboiu’s Police, Adjective, a complex tale revolving around a police officer who refuses to arrest a high-school student accused of being a drug dealer. Dragos Bucur and 2007 Los Angeles Film Critics best supporting actor winner Vlad Ivanov (for 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days) star. Police, Adjective won both the International Film Critics’ Prize and the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Schedule and film information from the AFI FEST 2009 website:

Kanikosen – 11:00 a.m.

See synopsis.

Police, Adjective – 1:00 p.m.

In the Attic – 3:15 p.m.

To Die Like a Man – 5:00 p.m.

Plus-sized Tonia (Fernando Santos), born Antonio, has lived as a woman for decades. She’s a battle-scarred veteran of the Lisbon drag clubs, with a cute if somewhat crazy lover young enough to be her son (she also has an actual son, an army deserter working through his own sexual issues). But as the title flatly suggests, she ultimately finds it impossible to escape her biological destiny. This is a poignant rumination on the mysteries of identity but hardly an affirmative celebration of our fluid and malleable selves. João Pedro Rodrigues (O FANTASMA, TWO DRIFTERS) rejects the clichéd ostentation of musicals and drag shows—as indicated by the constrained 1:33 frame —and his vaguely ascetic approach has the perverse effect of making his material all the more magical. Dennis Lim, Cinema Scope

AFI FEST 2009 Awards

AFI FEST 2009: Hollywood/Santa Monica, Oct. 30-Nov. 7.

Ajami by Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank focuses on a working-class teenager (Katie Jarvis) frustrated that her mother has found a new beau (Michael Fassbender); Javier Rebollo’s Woman Without Piano is a dramatic portrait of 24 hours in the life of a Madrid housewife (Carmen Machi); and Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Ajami (above) chronicles the day-to-day, anything-but-routine lives of several denizens of a tough neighborhood in Jaffa, where Muslims, Jews, and Christians are sworn to live in bloody disharmony.

Michael Fassbender in Fish Tank
FISH TANK DIR: Andrea Arnold UK
Woman Without Piano by Javier Rebello
Ajami by Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
AJAMI DIR: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani Israel/Germany

AFI FEST 2009, Sat., Nov. 7 at the Santa Monica Laemmle Theater 4 on 2nd Street in Santa Monica.

AFI FEST 2009 comes to a close with the following screenings:

  • Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station, which is set near the end of Leo Tolstoy’s life, has been getting lots of Oscar buzz for its stars: James McAvoy as Tolstoy’s assistant; Helen Mirren as Tolstoy’s wife; and Christopher Plummer as the verbose author of the never-ending War and Peace.
  • Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash’s Sweetgrass offers a look at sheepherding in Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth mountain range. Apart from the sheep and the high peaks, there’s no connection to Brokeback Mountain.
  • Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s stop-motion A Town Called Panic features the three stars of a popular Belgian TV show: Cowboy, Indian, and Horse.
  • After.Life sounds pretty interesting, what with Liam Neeson in a Vincent Priceish role as an undertaker who claims he can talk to the dead. Christina Ricci and Justin Long aren’t quite sure if they should believe him. Agnieska Wojtowicz-Vosloo directed.

Schedule and synopsis below from the AFI FEST website:

A Town Called Panic – 11:00 a.m.

This wacky, wonderful, and thoroughly absurdist feature-length film continues the misadventures of Cowboy, Indian and Horse, stars of Belgium’s cult favorite TV show of the same title. The three stop-motion heroes have their regular bouts of personal drama (done with hilarious effect by the talented voices of the show and film’s creators, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar), but these petty skirmishes and debacles are ratcheted up a notch for the big screen with the accidental purchasing by Indian of 50 million bricks. A few fumbles later, Horse’s house is destroyed and must be rebuilt. This proves no easy task, especially after a gang of mischievous, underage water monsters get involved! Amidst all the silliness, it’s impossible not to notice that A TOWN CALLED PANIC revolves around an impressively inventive plot. Deftly, beautifully animated, the film achieves a rare thing: humor wildly appealing to audiences of all ages. –Beth Hanna

Sweetgrass – 1:00 p.m.

The Last Station – 3:00 p.m.

In this thrilling comic-dramatic account of Leo Tolstoy’s final months, our Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer, in a magnificent performance) has renounced writing fiction, built a school for peasants and started a movement whose guiding principles are pacifism, sexual chastity and the abolishment of private property. His new secretary (James McAvoy) becomes the comic man-in-the-middle between two formidable opponents scheming for control of the authors manuscripts and money: the rigid Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) who wants to spread Tolstoyan doctrines around the world and Sofya (Helen Mirren), Tolstoy’s wife of 48 years and the mother of his 13 children, who proves her dedication by copying War and Peace six times… by hand. -Larry Gross

After.Life – 5:00 p.m.

AFI FEST 2009 website.

The Karamazovs by Petr Zelenka
The Karamazovs by Petr Zelenka.

New Czech Films: ‘Citizen Havel’ & ‘The Karamazovs’

New Czech Films at New York’s BAMcinématek (website). The series includes works by two-time Academy Award winner Milos Forman and Jan Hrebejk, whose Divided We Fall (2000) was nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. Václav Marhoul’s war drama Tobruk, which is supposed to show that there’s “a very thin line between heroism and cowardice,” sounds particularly intriguing. All films in Czech with English subtitles.

Schedule and film information from the BAMcinématek website:

A Well Paid Walk (Dobre Placená Procházku) (2009) 85min
Wed, Nov 18 at 6:50*, 9:40pm
*Q&A with Milos Forman
Directed by Miloš Forman
With Jirrí Suchý, Dáša Zázvurková, Petr Stach, Petr Píša, Tereza Hálová
A comic “jazz” opera originally staged by Prague’s subversive Semafor Theater in the 1960s and filmed for TV by a young Miloš Forman, A Well Paid Walk follows a couple on the rocks who feign marital bliss and parenthood in order to earn an inheritance. Forman not only returned to the stage to direct this comic opéra bouffe, but also created this brand-new filmed version. North American Premiere! Q&A with Miloš Forman.

Who’s Afraid of the Wolf? (Kdopak By Se Vlka Bál) (2008) 90min
Thu, Nov 19 at 4:30, 6:50*, 9:40pm
*Q&A with Maria Procházková
Directed by Maria Procházková
With Dorotka Dedková, Jitka Ivanrarová, Pavel Reznírek, Martin Hofmann
When a mother’s attempts to revive her opera career with the help of a former lover, her five-year old girl begins to believe that she has been replaced by aliens. Acclaimed animator Procházková uses animation to depict the child’s imaginative world, including elements of Little Red Riding Hood. North American Premiere! Q&A with Mária Procházková.

Citizen Havel (Obcan Havel) (2008) 120min
Fri, Nov 20 at 6:50, 9:15pm
Directed by Pavel Koutecký and Miroslav Janek
On the twentieth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, we present this vivid portrait of Václav Havel and his two terms as President of the Czech Republic. Spanning thirteen years, the film reveals the political and private lives, as well as the humor and the gravity of the playwright, philosopher, and dissident.

René (2008)
Sat, Nov 21 at 2, 6:50pm*
*Q&A with Helena Treštíková
Directed by Helena Treštíková
This raw documentary tells the story of a man whose life has been captured on camera since he was seventeen.Treštíková followed his hopeless journey between stints in prison and brief periods outside the prison walls. Winner of the Prix Arte from the European Film Academy. NY Premiere! Q&A with Helena Treštíková.

Tobruk (2008) 100min
Sat, Nov 21 at 4:30, 9:40pm
Directed by Václav Marhoul
With Jan Meduna, Petr Vanek, Martin Nahálka and Robert Nebrenský
Tobruk is a humanistic story about exiled Czech soldiers fighting alongside the Allies in the infamous battle of Tobruk in North Africa during WWII. A naïve young soldier joins the Czech troops and soon finds out that there is a very thin line between heroism and cowardice.

The Karamazovs (2008) 110min
Sun, Nov 22 at 2, 6:50pm
Directed by Petr Zelenka
With Ivan Trojan, Igor Chmela, David Novotný
As a Czech theater company travels to Poland to perform Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, a drama of morality, conscience, guilt, and punishment takes place on stage and off. Zelenka ingeniously weaves the story through the performances on stage and the situations behind-the-scenes.

I’m All Good (U Mne Dobrý) (2008) 102min
Sun, Nov 22 at 4:30, 9:15pm
Directed by Jan Hrebejk
With Miroslav Vladyka, Boleslav Polívka, Jirí Schmitzer
Hrebejk’s (Divided We Fall) entertaining ensemble comedy, set in the early 1990s, follows six friends who meet up at a pub only to have the tranquility of their card game interrupted when one of them is victimized by con-men at an open-air market. All hell breaks loose when the friends decide to take the law into their own hands. NY Premiere!

Directed by Andrew Jacobs, Four Seasons Lodge is currently playing at New York City’s IFC Center (website) at Sixth Avenue at West Third Street. The film opens Friday, Nov. 20, at the Quad Cinema (website) at 34 West 13th Street. This week, the filmmaker will be present at the IFC Center’s Wednesday-Thursday 8pm shows.

The Four Seasons Lodge summary reads:

“From the darkness of Hitler’s Europe to the lush mountains of New York’s Catskills, Four Seasons Lodge follows a community of Holocaust survivors who come together each summer at their beloved bungalow colony to dance, cook, fight and flirt – and celebrate their survival. Beautifully photographed by a team of cinematographers led by Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens), this unexpectedly funny film confronts sobering topics like aging, loss and the legacy of the Holocaust, capturing the Lodgers’ intoxicating passion for life as the fate of their colony hangs in the balance.”

Four Seasons Lodge opens in Los Angeles (and in Boston) on December 11. In case the filmmakers have already submitted it to the Academy, the Los Angeles opening means the film will be eligible for the 2010 Academy Awards in the best documentary feature category.

Belle de Nature by Maria Beatty

CineKink San Francisco: ‘The Auteur’ & ‘Cinderfella’

CineKink San Francisco will take place from November 19-21 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Screening films include James Westby’s The Auteur, a farcical comedy about has-been Italian erotica filmmaker Arturo Domingo’s trip to Portland to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award; A. Benjamin’s Kinky (above, lower photo), a 2008 documentary that explores sexuality issues among black Americans; and a couple of dozen shorts, including “Best of CineKink” selections Belle de Nature (above, top photo) by Maria Beatty, Kink, Inc. by Casey Clark, and At the Porno Shop by Michael Rehfield.

Of those, I’ve only seen The Auteur. Most of the humor eluded me, while the film promises more risque situations than it delivers. That said, The Auteur is worth a look thanks to its very clever and very funny climactic (in every sense of the word) moment, in which a group of US soldiers blast off together in Film Meister Arturo Domingo’s subversive masterpiece “Full Metal Jackoff.”

More info/tickets:

Film schedule and information from the CineKink website:

Thursday, November 19th – 7:00 PM
This sometimes light-hearted, sometimes thought-provoking look at issues affecting the sexuality of Black Americans touches on religion, racism and relationships as it delves into the fascinating world of bondage, fetish and BDSM. (A. Benjamin, 2008, USA, 46 minutes) Plays with the short documentary BDSM: IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK.

Thursday, November 19th – 9:00 PM
WHIPS & RESTRAINT(Shorts Program)
A kinky collection of shorts that dip into the toy-bag and play with the dynamics of sexual power and release, control and submission. Program includes: GRAVUREN DESADE, BUTLER, IN THE CLOSET, 20 LICKS, VALLEY OF THE DOMMES, SERVING MADAME GINA and KINK, INC. (above)

Friday, November 20th – 7:00 PM
A colorfully pansexual mash-up of gender frolics, blurred boundaries, several pairs of Lycra bicycle shorts–and some very high style! Program includes: MISS JEZEBEL’S FEATHERS, DORIAN: A PICTURE, PRITCH AND PANCH DO… THE CINDERFELLA EXPERIENCE AT MISS VERA’S FINISHING SCHOOL and THE TOUR DE PANTS. (Plus, a surprise encore appearance of SISSIES GONE WILD! – with co-stars Sissy Stephanie and Sissy Carol in the house!)

Friday, November 20th – 9:00 PM
What is it that a woman wants? Most of the answers are infinitely varied, but the shorts in this celebration of female pleasure will help guide you in one generally appropriate direction. Program includes: TEAT BEAT OF SEX: 8-11, MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY, BARCELONA SEX PROJECT: IRINA, CASE 1112: FORTY IS THE NEW 14, STRAP ON MOTEL and MATINEE.

Saturday, November 21st – 7:00 PM
A mélange of romantic comedy and raunchy satire set in the world of adult film, this is the story of renowned porn director Arturo Domingo, the creative genius behind classics like ‘Five Easy Nieces’ and ‘Requiem for a Wet Dream,’ who has arrived in Portland, Oregon to receive a Lifetime Achievement award at a film festival. (James Westby, 2008, USA, 80 minutes) Plays with the darkly comic short JE DIS NON, ALI.

Saturday, November 21st – 9:00 PM
A special sampling of some of the hot shorts deemed the very best of CineKink, with jury-selected awards determined during the latest run of the annual festival. Program includes: AT THE PORNO SHOP, TEAT BEAT OF SEX: 8-11, UN PIEDE DI ROMAN POLANSKI, EROTIC, BELLE DE NATURE, RUBBERHEART and KINK, INC.

Skhizein Jeremy Clapin
Skhizein by Jeremy Clapin.

Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour – Program 2

The Los Angeles Filmforum will present Program 2 of the Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

As per the LA Filmforum’s press release, the Ann Arbor Film Festival (website) is “the original and longest-running independent film festival in the United States, recognized as a premiere showcase for risk-taking, pioneering and art driven cinema.” Program 2 explores “themes of a changing globalized world through personal, existential journeys.”

The screening films are:

Cattle Call (Mike Maryniuk & Matthew Rankin, 4 min)
Utopia Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall (Sam Green & Carrie Lozano, 12 min)
Quiero Ver (Adele Horne; 6 min)
Skhizein (Jeremy Clapin, 14 min)
Retouches (Georges Schwizgebel, 5 min)
Más Se Perdió (Stephen Connolly, 15 min)
Nora (Alla Kovgan & David Hinton, 35 min)
Blue Tide, Black Water (Eve Gordon & Sam Hamilton, 10 min)

Los Angeles Filmforum, at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd, at Las Palmas, Los Angeles CA 90028. Sunday Nov 22, 2009. 7:30 pm. General admission $10, students/seniors $6, free for Filmforum members. The Egyptian Theatre has a validation stamp for the Hollywood & Highland complex. Park 4 hours for $2 with validation.

Photos: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Filmforum.

Artivist Film Festival Kicks off with Father & Gay Son Movie

Los Angeles’ 6th Artivist Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, Dec. 1, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Until its conclusion on Dec. 5, Artivist will screen 45 “advocate films” – socially/politically conscious documentary and narrative features and shorts – from around the globe. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance.

The festival will open with a screening of writer-director Peter Bratt’s La Mission, the San Francisco-set tale of a violent ex-con and recovering alcoholic (Benjamin Bratt) whose macho world comes crashing down faster than any of his low-ride cars when he discovers that his beloved son (Jeremy Ray Valdez) is gay.

Brothers Peter Bratt and Benjamin Bratt, and the La Mission cast will take part in a Q&A session following the screening.

According to its website, the Artivist Film Festival’s mission is to present films that raise “public awareness for social global causes.” The festival’s focus are: International Human Rights, Children’s Advocacy, Environmental Preservation, and Animal Advocacy.

Artivist concludes with an awards ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 5. Among this year’s honorees are actors Olivia Wilde and Hank Azaria, and executive producer Stephen Nemeth, among whose credits are the environmentally conscious documentaries Flow: For Love of Water and Fields of Fuel.

To reserve your free Artivist ticket, go here.

Benjamin Bratt in La Mission

Peter Bratt’s family drama La Mission, about the relationship between an ex-con (Benjamin Bratt, above) and his gay son (Jeremy Ray Valdez), will open the 2009 edition of the Artivist Film Festival, which runs Dec. 1-5 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

The synopsis below is from the Artivist website:

“Set in the colorful, seedy streets of the San Francisco district that bears its name, La Mission is a story of redemption imbued with the curative power of Aztec tradition. Feared, yet respected, as the baddest Chicano on the block, Che (Benjamin Bratt), a reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, resorts to violence and intimidation to get what he wants. A bus driver by day, Che lives for his beloved son, Jesse, his lifelong friends, and his passion for lowrider cars. Che and the “Mission Boyz” salvage junked cars, transforming them into classics. Che’s macho world is crushed when he discovers that Jesse’s been living a secret Gay life that he could never accept. Lena, Che’s attractive neighbor and a force to be reckoned with, is a woman with a few secrets of her own. Mutual attraction percolates as Lena challenges Che to reconcile the life he thought he had.”

Also in the La Mission cast: Erika Alexander, Jesse Borrego, Talisa Soto Bratt.

This year’s Artivist festival will screen more than 40 short and feature films from around the globe. As per its website, the festival’s mission is “to strengthen the voice of advocate artists … while raising public awareness for social global causes.”

Artivist will also honor “those artists whose exemplary work in their community stands out as a shining example of one person’s ability to change the world for the better.” Past Artivist Award recipients include: Ted Danson, Alyssa Milano, Joaquin Phoenix, Matthew McConaughey, Mira Sorvino, James Cromwell, Ed Begley Jr, Tippi Hedren, and Mike Farrell.

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