Lone Star International Film Festival: Opening Night

10 11 2010

Tonight kicks off the 4th annual Lone Star International Film Festival in Fort Worth, Tx.  Here are my picks for the 5 must see films/panels at the festival.

Obviously with the Lifetime Achievement Award going to the amazing Jeff Bridges, I could just list the events he’ll be at.  But I wanted to highlight events not associated with Jeff and company.  Though I will point out that Saturday night’s party is going to be FREAKING AWESOME.

I mean how can you beat Oscar winners doing what won them the Oscar?  With showings of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, and CRAZY HEART earlier in the day on Saturday you can’t miss seeing Mr. Bridges, Mr. Burnett or the slew of friends flying in to support the two award winners.  Nonetheless I’d like to highlight 5 other events.  The order I’m going to give is based on when they play not on importance.

1. TONIGHT:  The Opening Night Film is the gripping award-winning documentary MARWENCOL.

After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men, Mark copes by building a 1/6th scale World War II Belgian town, “Marwencol,” that he populates with dolls representing friends and family. Creating life-like photographs detailing the town’s imaginary relationships and dramas is therapeutic but when it’s discovered by a prestigious NY Gallery he’s forced to choose between the safety of Marwencol and the real world in this 10+ times award-winning documentary that is utterly engulfing.

At the AMC Palace 8 at 7:30 pm the LSIFF kicks off!!

2. Thursday Night – CAMERAMAN: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff.  7pm at AMC Palace 4.

If you’re unfamiliar with the amazing cinematographer then here is just a short list of the films he’s dp’d.

Black Narcissus (1947)

The African Queen (1951)

Death on The Nile (1978)

Conan: The Destroyer (1984)

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (1991)

These are just a few of the 72 films he’s dp’d.  Jack is always in the conversation of greatest cinematographers ever.  His career is amazing and with his passing just last year this film is a perfect tribute.

3. Friday Night – Director Mike Leigh’s latest film ANOTHER YEAR.  7:30pm at AMC Palace 4.

Mike Leigh’s latest slice-of-British-life Another Year, is just that – a nuanced story of a content couple and their lonely friends. Beginning in spring, by winter it is clear that the changes that occur are rarely profound, as the small community of friends’ struggles, like the seasons, wear on them but do not defeat them.

If you haven’t seen Secrets & Lies or Vera Drake then you NEED to, Mike’s a genius.  Back to back brits that’s interesting.

4.  Saturday – First there was a story:  The Art of Screenwriting with Callie Khouri and John Lee Hancock. 2pm Fort Worth Public Library.

Oscar winning screenwriter Callie Khouri and writer/director John Lee Hancock talk about the most essential aspect of filmmaking.

The native Texans have given us some amazing films like Callie’s THELMA & LOUISE and John’s MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL and THE BLINDSIDE.

5. Sunday – NIGHT CATCHES US – 1pm AMC Palace 4.

This impressive debut feature, set in a race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood in 1976, places its central characters in the complex political and emotional forces that reflect their coming of age during the Black Power movement.

Not only will writer/director Tanya Hamilton become a house-hold name over the next decade so will the film’s star (The Hurt Locker’s) Anthony Mackie.  Powerful looking film that looks to showcase a pivotal time-period in American history.

I hope to see you all out in Funky Fort Worth STARTING TONIGHT with MARWENCOL.

Also here’s a shout out to another Texan being honored this year.

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