Thursday, March 31, 2011

#159: River Bend Film Festival

Hollywood, Telluride, Cannes, ... and South Bend.  What do these cities have in common?  Each recognizes the value of film with a few days dedicated each year to appreciating this 117 year old art form.

Starting tonight, here in South Bend, the River Bend Film Festival will highlight short and feature length films, showing more than 35 hours of footage produced by 75+ filmmakers from across the world.  Unlike what you might you find at those other cities' festivals, you may find many shooting locations familiar, such as Niles (“Last Seen on Delores Street” by L.A. based filmmaker Devi Snively) or South Bend ("Getting Ahead", "Red Lilly", "The Bridge").
The schedule is too overwhelming to cover in a single blog post, so please check their website for the list of showings.  Here is a brief overview:

Thursday, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. in Room 1001, Wiekamp Hall, IUSB:  Short films that revolve around teen and college age characters and subjects, concluding with the feature-length teen comedy Farmer’s Tan, which was shot in California by some very talented high school students for $3,000.

On Friday, at 7 p.m. the festival moves downtown to the Century Center, and the show goes almost non-stop until midnight of the next day.  There will be concessions for sale on Saturday.

Saturday, 7 p.m. – Midnight at the Century Center: Winner announced, and the premiere of  “High School”, starring Adrien Brody, a Michigan-filmed comedy revolving around a valedictorian whose first time marijuana use occurs just prior to a mandatory drug test and the ensuing plot to keep him from expulsion.  It is produced by Notre Dame alum Stephen Susco ("The Grudge"), who will also be present for Thursday's showing and speak on Friday.

Ticket prices:
Friday (7 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.) – $10 regular, $8 student/senior
Saturday (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) – $5 regular, $4 student/senior
Saturday (12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) - $10 regular, $8 student/senior
Saturday (7 p.m. – Midnight) – $10 regular, $8 student/senior
Saturday Day Pass (9 a.m. – Midnight) - $20 regular, $18 student/senior
Weekend Pass (Friday 7 p.m. – Saturday Midnight) - $30 regular, $25 student/senior

My top three picks of films I'm excited to see:
  1. This…Is the Orange Line- Nathan Maulorico (Experimental, 9m, Springfield, MO) A short documentary about the shapes and movements of the Chicago Orange Line L train from day to night. Featuring a cello Concerto by Edward William Elgar. [Public transportation and a movie set to music combines two of my favorite things and may even take you back to the 1910 "moving picture" experience.
  2. Picking Up America – Marie Wicht & Michael Burke (Student Project, 17m, Notre Dame) Four determined activists head out on foot from east coast to west, collecting thousands of pounds of trash along their two year pilgrimage to “Pick Up America.” [Full disclosure: I saw this documentary at the ND Student Film Festival, and it almost made me cry. Go green, guys!]
  3. Night of the Living Spuds – Tim Richardson (Comedy, 10m, Edwardsburg) A crashed astrospud causes the residents of Chive City to turn into tator zombies.  [Really.]

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