Rehoboth Beach Film Fest Announces First Film Bookings
|The program for the Second Annual Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, this November 10-14, is beginning to come to life as festival organizers announced the first round of film bookings.
"For the past several months, a dedicated group of reviewers has been watching the films submitted so far," says Festival Director, Barry Becker. "We are looking at works from Argentina to Iceland, from France to Iran, from Russia to Japan. With just weeks to complete our work, I have no doubt that we have another hit on our hands."
Among the first films to be announced are some that have been playing on the festival circuit and in art houses this year to rave reviews. Chief among these is The Red Violin, with Samuel L. Jackson, a grand tale that spans five centuries, four languages and vast cultural change. It is a visually sweeping epic with an extraordinary score filmed in Vienna, Oxford, Shanghai and Cremona, spanning the years from 17th century Italy to the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
France's The Dinner Game has also been having wild success across the country. A comic masterpiece, the plot centers around a group of arrogant French men who each invite who they believe will be the biggest idiot to their weekly dinner party. The one with the biggest idiot wins. Tables turn and plots unfold, as they do only in French films, in this great come-uppance of exposing who exactly the true idiot is.
Alegria is a sumptuous love story of a street mime and a circus performer, filled with magic on every level. Wonderfully, the circus just happens to be the troupe of Cirque du Soleil, so every frame of this film is full of color, magic and life. "The title means joy, elation and jubilation, which is how you'll feel when you see it," says Becker. "It is one of the most beautiful visual feasts I have seen on film in seven years of programming festivals."
Bedrooms and Hallways is the new feature film from Rose Troche, who's debut film, Go Fish, won accolades in 1994. Bedrooms is a fresh, humorous look at love of all kinds, New Age gurus, male bonding and much more.
In the documentary category, Climb Against The Odds has been booked, which is a remarkable story of courage and survival as 12 women who are fighting breast cancer attempt to climb Mount McKinley, which at 20,320 feet, is the highest peak in North America.
Completing the first round of film bookings is After Life, from Japan, an inspired meditation on life that is original, humorous and moving. As a group of people move into the afterlife, they are asked to choose the one memory that they will take with them through eternity, and once picked, the memory will be acted out and filmed for the deceased to take with them into paradise.
"Right now we are putting down a great foundation for a well-rounded and remarkable festival program," says Becker. "Film bookings will move rapidly in the next few weeks." Hinting at what's to come, he said, "In the next week or two, we expect to be making some major announcements which we hope will really ignite the imagination of film fans across the Delmarva Peninsula and beyond."
The festival program will also benefit from the expertise of two guest curators who will bring their unique perspective and knowledge of films to the creative drawing board. Paul Lee, born in Hong Kong and now living in Toronto, is a film director, writer and/or producer of 17 short films. He has also curated programs at festivals around the globe, including Madrid, Bangladesh, Bangkok, Kyoto and Tokyo, in addition to many sites in Canada. "Paul brings such depth and passion to his work," says Becker, "and I am honored and humbled that he is working with us. He has put together several programs of short films that I know will challenge us all."
Kelly Gordon, Curator of Film and Video at the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum for over a decade, will also lend a hand with her own brand of film programming. "Kelly has attended festivals from Jerusalem to Rotterdam for more years than she cares to talk about, and her grasp of cutting-edge independent film as a programmer cannot be rivaled," says Becker. "Her programs are frequently standing-room only, and I expect the same for what she'll put together for us in November."
The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival will open with a gala at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center on Wednesday, November 10. Films will be screened Thursday, November 11 through Sunday, November 14 at the Rehoboth Mall Cinemas and at select screens at the Movies at Midway. Additional film events will be held at the Convention center and workshops and lectures with visiting film makers will be held at other local venues. The Festival will wrap with a closing night party at the Food Court in the Rehoboth Mall.
Between now and September, the Film Society will be offering the community many opportunities to view and critique the films that have been submitted for festival consideration.
Film review is held every Monday through Wednesday and every other Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays at the Film Society office in the Rehoboth Mall. For more information or to volunteer for any of the 1999 festival events, call 645-9095 or visit the website at www.rehobothfilm.com.
The Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival is sponsored, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 12, Aug. 27, 1999