Saturday at the Santa Fe Film Festival

- October 21, 2011

"...a busy day at both the Screen and CCA’s Cinematique..."

Saturday, October 22nd is a busy day at both of the Santa Fe Film Festival’s venues – The Screen and CCA’s Cinematique.

The Screen begins its day 10:30 a.m. with Vito by director Jeffrey Schwarz. This biographic documentary tells the inspiring story of pivotal gay rights activist Vito Russo, author of The Celluloid Closet, who fought tirelessly to secure the dignity of gays and lesbians the world over until his life was claimed by AIDS in 1990.

At 12:15 p.m. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, brings director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s strange and hypnotic drama – a slow-paced treatment of a frustrating murder investigation conducted in the dark emptiness of the Anatolian night. This bleakly comic, superbly crafted film marks Turkey’s finest filmmaker’s masterpiece to date.

The 3:15 p.m. screening is a series of short (Shorts IV), including:

Maddoggin’, directed by Terrence Heuston, is the story of two boys living on the streets of East L.A. Pedro is a charismatic, natural born salesman. His best friend, Ernesto, is a gifted artist who creates elaborate street art. When the local gang leader, A.K., asks them to join his “family,” the boys must choose between a life of violence inside the gang or a life of poverty outside of it. The choices the boys make over a single day will alter their lives forever.

Via Gori, directed by George Barbakadze – Russian planes start to bomb the Georgian town of Gori when a Russian woman has to travel inconspicuously on a minibus filled with Georgian evacuees. A single Russian word uttered by her or her young daughter could make them the enemy of everyone around. Will they pass unnoticed or will they be discovered?

Two, directed by Daniela Flynn, is a short film adapted from a monologue from the same titled stage play by Ron Elisha. What was once a young woman’s heartbreaking confession to her rabbi is now a riveting confrontation between her shattered selves. At the close of WWII, this young woman – a former SS officer – confronts her heritage of lies.

Something’s Wrong With Peter is a romantic comedy directed by Davern Wright . Peter has a date with Suzie, his dream girl – but he can’t get over the fact that whenever he looks in the mirror, he sees himself as a hideous monster. A certain pill can make the monster disappear, but Peter is terrified of the medication’s potentially crippling side effects. Obsessed with this dilemma, he forgets about his date completely, which causes Suzie (hurt by his insensitivity) to reject him outright. Left mired in the towering mess of his apartment with his eerie alter ego, what can Peter do to win Suzie back?

Terrebonne, directed by Jeremy Craig is a drama set on the imperiled coast of Louisiana. Terrebonne is the meditative story of a brother and sister who encounter unexpected trouble when they venture deep into the swamp in search of the mythic ivory-billed woodpecker.

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons, directed by Ari Aster. The Johnsons are an attractive, well to do, upper-middle class family whose reputation could not be better among their friends and neighbors. But they hide an insidious secret, and Mr. Johnson has written an underground memoir which threatens to expose a truly bizarre family dynamic.

5:45 p.m. brings us a showing of  A Bitter Taste of Freedom, a stirring drama by director Marina Goldovskaya, which pays homage to Russian investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya and her efforts to uncover crimes of the Russian State that end in her politically motivated murder.

At 7:45 p.m. in A Separation, by writer/director Asghar Farhadi, a couple is torn between leaving Iran for a better life and staying to care for a dying parent. This film was the Golden Bear Award-winner for Best Film and Silver Bear Award-winner both for Best Actor and Best Actress at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival and Official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar candidate from Iran. It was also a critical and audience favorite at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

The 10:45 a.m. Shorts Program II includes 14085, directed by Olli Koivula. This drama’s title represents the number of people killed by guns each year in the U.S. The film follows different characters who are interconnected via a gun that travels among them and we learn the devastating consequences of one’s irresponsible actions. The characters are streetwise, everyone with their different agendas trying to manage their situations – some hoping to get paid, some trying to keep their friends on the right path.

Exclusive  – In this drama/comedy directed by Elan Golod, Ben Miller is still upset about his recent breakup and becomes an unlikely hero when he rescues a young woman being assaulted in the street outside his home. After first resisting the media spotlight, he then agrees to discuss the incident on TV with Talia Morgan, an up-and-coming local reporter anxious to score her first exclusive. Their interview reveals new angles about what happened on that street and shows that, in news-gathering as in life, getting the story is sometimes the real story, for better or for worse. Based on a short story by acclaimed Israeli author, Etgar Keret.

Slant, a drama directed by Stephen Soucy, is set in Palm Springs, California, and inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem. The film tells the story of a gay man in his early 50′s looking for romantic connection long after the loss of his partner to AIDS.

Fatakra is a drama directed by Soham Mehtah in which sparks fly as a family reunites.

In Bars and Tone, directed by Ariel Martin, two inept cameramen try to shoot a washing powder commercial. However they end up shooting everything in between the takes while unwittingly cutting out the actual scenes!

Flagpole by director Matt Kazman is a film about boners and salami nipples…Just a typical day for 13-year-old Zack – getting ripped on by his friends, ridiculed by the girls he’s afraid to hook up with, and constantly thinking about his crush, Maddy Cohen. Quiet on the outside, he keeps his thoughts to himself, until today…

Una Carrerita, Doctor, directed by Julio O. Ramos. In order to financially support his ill mother, Dr. Ramon Moran has to moonlight in the most unlikely profession: Taxi Driver. One day, unexpected passengers test his ethics.

At 12:4 p.m. the Festival presents New Mexico Shorts/ Spotlight on New Mexico Filmmakers, including:

Lobster, written and directed by Jocelyn Jansons – A young couple must decide the fate of a lobster they’ve brought home for a special dinner.

Della, written and directed by Don Gray – When two broken people collide in a dysfunctional relationship, one tries to escape, with the help of an unexpected source. Sometimes, you have to take your angels where you find them.

Energy Tap Out, directed by Adrien Wayne Colón – Mixed Martial Arts fighter Rex Sharpe takes energy conservation to the EXTREME!

The Story of an Engine, written and directed by Brad Wolfley. Director Wolfley explains, “With The Story of an Engine, I stood at the bottom of the stairs, caught the objects as they fell and rearranged them to win my mother’s approval. Like all art, its intent is to reveal a piece of one’s self--in this case, my own interest in memory, machines and our collective construction vis-a-vis the sequencing of image and sound in relation to story.”

Sacred Poison is a documentary directed by Yvonne Latty, showing the devastating toll past uranium mining has had on the Navajo people and discussing the potential risks posed by a renewal of uranium mining.

Waking Up Crane, directed by Joanne Schmidt, is a nature, wildlife, art and adventure film.

In The Incredibile Voyage of Captain Hook, directed by Josh Klein, an elderly wanderer is placed in a psychiatric institution upon being discovered drifting through traffic on a New Mexico interstate. A young psychiatrist becomes enchanted with this new patient when the man reveals himself to be none other than Captain James Hook. Through in-depth questioning, Hook reveals how he barely escaped Never Never Land after a maniacal bloodthirsty Peter Pan killed every last pirate aboard his ship. After he’s institutionalized against his will, Hook is transformed from the fictional character who he believed he was, into a man without a past, or so he is made to accept. The chilling outcome of the film involves the captain pitted against that which he fears the most, the truth.

The 3 p.m. showing of Wild Horses and Renegades by director James Anaquad Kleinert is part of the Festival’s Spotlight on New Mexico Filmmakers. It is a beautifully photographed and passionately expressed chronicle of the plight of the American wild horse, risking extinction by the practices of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and increased control of public lands by the extractive industries of coal, gas, oil and uranium. Celebrity activists including Sheryl Crowe, Governor Bill Richardson, Willie Nelson and Viggo Mortensen lend their voices in support of legislation and legal action to protect this iconic American treasure.

At 5:15 p.m., Odd One Out by director Pawel Wendorff tells the story of Kuba, who is a lazy, spoiled 30-year-old still living at home. When pressured to take his first job as a deliveryman, Kuba’s life becomes intertwined with everyone he meets and things begin to unravel. Flat-out funny, Pawel Wendorff’s surreal comedy recalls the period of Poland’s Golden Age of Cinema that brought us Polanski, Skolimowski, Kieslowski, et al.

7:15 p.m. brings Corpo Celeste by writer/director Alice Rohrwacher. Set in a small Calabrian seaside town, this extraordinary directorial debut chronicles 13-year-old Marta’s private duel with the Church as she wrestles with puberty and her personal coming of age.

The evening ends with a showing of Sleeping Beauty beginning at 9:15 p.m. In this drama by writer/director Julia Leigh, Emily Browning gives a daring performance as a young university student who lets the flip of a coin decide the outcome of random sexual encounters. In a spellbinding interpretation of the familiar fairy tale, Leigh’s directorial debut brings the viewer into a shocking world of clandestine sexual adventures with a bold, unwavering honesty.

Get ready for the Festival’s closing day on Sunday.