Hello World, Marc Here:
Since starting Go,See,Talk a few years ago I had always hoped all the work done here would take me one step closer to the magical world of film. This year it looks like it’s starting to pay off.
I have received my Press Pass *throws arms up and dances like a maniac…then resumes typing* to the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival and man am I excited!! So far I’ve already had the privelage to interview two directors for their awesome films (A Kiss and A Promise and She Deserved It) and there should be plenty of opportunities ahead in the next 11 days.
However since I’m juggling this between my full time job I don’t know exactly how many films I’ll be able to watch/cover. That said, of the dizzying number of films in the festival this year, here are the ones I’m going to try and attack. Click the photos below for info and screening schedules for each film…
13 Assassins –
The year is 1844. A young lord rapes and kills with impunity by virtue of his political connections. Though the era of the samurai is fading, an honest government official covertly enlists 13 swordsmen to assassinate this sadistic lord before he can seize more power. With the clock ticking, the assassins lay a deadly trap for the lord and his army of bodyguards, culminating in one of the bloodiest, muddiest swordfights ever put to film.
13 ASSASSINS offers no gimmicks, wires, bullet time or modern soundtrack: it’s dead-serious, old-fashioned samurai action with both feet planted firmly on blood-soaked ground.
The Perfect Game –
Based on a true story. In 1957 a ragtag, shoeless, poor group of kids from Monterrey, Mexico shocked the world by winning 13 games in a row and the Little League World Series in the only perfect game ever pitched in the Championship.
These kids, led by their priest and a down-and-out former major leaguer embark on a journey through the Southern US and up to Williamsport, Penn., for the championship game. They encountered many adversities including nearly being deported and the bigotry that wouldn’t allow them into certain restaurants or travel on certain buses. They never lost their faith and eventually captured the hearts of both nations. This is a heart-warming inspirational story in the tradition of RUDY, HOOSIERS, COACH CARTER or FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.
It seems like a dream come true when Ben Keller (Colin Hanks) wins the Iowa State Lotto. But, for everyone else in his life, it’s the beginning of darkly comic nightmare. With $36 million at his disposal, Ben has the newfound confidence to pursue his lifelong crush, Lucy St. Martin (Ari Graynor). Can all the money in the world compensate for the fact that Ben is a fledgling serial killer? As their relationship spirals out of control and the body count rises, Lucy and Ben do all they can to survive love, marriage, and each other. The dark romantic comedy also stars Ari Graynor, Jeffrey Tambor, and Academy Award nominee Ann-Margret.
Special Note: Ann Margret will be one of the featured guest at this year’s DIFF and is set to receive the Dallas Star Award
The Presence –
Beautiful, creepy, quiet, and somewhat romantic … and that’s just the first 15 minutes of Tom Provost’s modern-day gothic romance story THE PRESENCE. In this darkly emotional ghost story, a woman travels to an isolated cabin where she finds herself stalked by an apparition who has inhabited her space as his own. With the unexpected arrival of the woman’s boyfriend, the dark spirit’s haunting grows more obsessive. Soon the woman begins to exhibit irrational behavior as the thin line between sanity and possession begins to unravel. A stunning directorial debut from Tom Provost, THE PRESENCE is grounded in terrific performances, beautiful cinematography, a lush musical score, and a Hitchcockian style that explores the idea of pure cinematic storytelling.
Salvation Boulevard –
Pastor Dan is a charismatic preacher who has captivated a city with his charm. Ex-deadhead and recovering hippie Carl is one of the loyal sheep in his flock. When Dan finds himself in a compromising situation, Carl is called into service in a most unconventional way. The megachurch is cast into shadow, and a hellish storm begins brewing that could jeopardize its entire existence. The road to hell is paved with good intentions—gone hysterically wrong.
This material is perfectly suited for George Ratliff, who directed the award-winning documentary HELL HOUSE and the 2007 Sundance Film Festival hit JOSHUA. Down to every detail, you feel you are in capable hands. In a situation ripe with possibilities, the gloriously talented cast members push their performances to the limit, spiraling this film toward cult-comedy status.
Zero Percent –
ZERO PERCENT gives us a rare glimpse inside the walls of the notorious Sing Sing Correctional facility. We are introduced to men who have been forgotten behind the bars but are finding hope and transformation through education. Hudson Link is one of the only college degree granting programs in New York’s entire department of corrections. The program, which is sponsored through individual donations, is very rigorous. This documentary follows the men involved in the Hudson Link program and their touching stories of life in and out of prison. While most convicts fall into the trap of recidivism once released (the national rate is 60%), none of the graduates from the Hudson Link program have returned to prison. We see remarkable stories of how they have given back to society after what they learned through he program. ZERO PERCENT proves the transformative power of education.
Project Nim –
From the Oscar-winning team behind MAN ON WIRE comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who, in the 1970s, became the focus of a landmark experiment that aimed to prove an ape—if raised and nurtured like a human child—could learn to communicate using sign language.
If successful, the consequences of the project would be profound, breaking down the barrier between man and his closest animal relative and fundamentally redefining what it is to be human. Combining the testimony of all the key participants, newly discovered archival film, and dramatic imagery, Project Nim tells the picturesque story of one chimpanzee’s extraordinary journey through human society and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way.
Filmmaker James Marsh returns with an unflinching, unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about Nim’s true nature—and indeed our own—is comic, revealing, and profoundly unsettling.
And finally here’s something that’s not a new film but one I’m quite looking forward to: The ‘Hook’ 20th Anniversary Screening.
What makes this enticing (to me at least) is that after the film, there will be a Q&A session with Texas native and veteran screenwriter James V. Hart. Last year’s Q&A with Pete Docter (Up) was hugely entertaining and with any luck this should be just as good!
So that’s just a handful of the great films expected this year. Click this link for more info and films in the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival.
Anything look good?? Anyone in the Dallas area planning to attend the Festival’s screening or premieres?? For all you out-of-towners, are there any films that you are looking for us to cover??