The 10th annual CineVegas Film Festival, to be held June 12 – 21 at the Palms Casino Resort and the Brenden Theatres, will open with Peter Cattaneo’s “The Rocker” and close with Sean McGinly’s “The Great Buck Howard,” it was announced today by Trevor Groth, Artistic Director. The tenth installment of the Sin City festival presents work from innovative, uninhibited and renegade artists by offering a selection of world and U.S. premieres of narratives and documentaries, advance screenings of high-profile films, the best new independent films, a Mexican cinema sidebar, and a program of shorts and features from Nevada filmmakers.
“Over the past ten years, CineVegas has evolved into the festival we have always wanted it to be: an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind experience for film lovers and an intimate, supportive environment for innovative films and filmmakers, as well as a dynamic launching place for studio releases,” said Artistic Director Trevor Groth. “This year’s program continues our history of championing films that take risks, challenge audiences and push the artistic limits of filmmaking. We are also excited to introduce a documentary competition for films that have the same outlaw spirit as the features we show. Las Vegas has the resources to celebrate these unique films as no other place can and for our tenth anniversary we look forward to cranking it up to an 11.”
Opening this year’s Festival is the world premiere of “The Rocker” from director Peter Cattaneo, starring Rainn Wilson as Robert “Fish” Fishman, a failed drummer who joins his nephew’s high school rock band, A.D.D., twenty years after being kicked out of his own band. Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Teddy Geiger and Emma Stone also star in this story about a second chance at rock star dreams.
Sean McGinly’s “The Great Buck Howard,” starring John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt and Tom Hanks, will close the Festival. Law school dropout Troy Gable (Colin Hanks) answers an ad for a “personal assistant to a celebrity performer,” hoping it will catapult him to a glamorous career in the entertainment industry. Little does he know that the performer is Buck Howard (Malkovich), a “mentalist” infamous for his 61 appearances on The Tonight Show, who has been reduced to a has-been magician in need of a pretty big trick to get him out of this slump.
World premieres in competition, also known as “Jackpot Premieres,” include Ben Rodkin’s film “Big Heart City,” about a lonely man searching for a missing loved one, starring Shawn Andrews and Seymour Cassel; the neo-noir musical “Dark Streets,” from director Rachel Samuels and starring Gabriel Mann, Bijou Phillips, Izabella Miko and Elias Koteas; the off-beat comedy “Happy Birthday, Harris Malden,” from Sweaty Robot, a Philadelphia comedy troupe; Josh Fox’s “Memorial Day,” a look into the first weekend of summer and the violent obsession with partying on camera; “She Unfolds by Day,” Rolf Belgum’s exploration of a middle-aged son caring for his aging mother; J.L. Vara’s “South of Heaven,” about a man searching for his missing brother; and “Your Name Here,” starring Bill Pullman, Taryn Manning and Traci Lords in a sci-fi dream from director Matthew Wilder.
“Pioneer Documentaries,” a new, competitive section for documentaries that explore new territory and world perceptions, includes “Beautiful Losers,” Aaron Rose’s feature documentary celebrating the independent spirit that unified a loose-knit group of underground American artists; Abel Ferrara’s “Chelsea on the Rocks” (U.S. premiere) about the personalities and artistic voices that have emerged from the legendary Chelsea Hotel; “The End,” Nicola Collins’ exploration of the lives of her father and his friends in the violent underworld of London; “Hi My Name Is Ryan” (world premiere) about Ryan Chadwick, the “clown prince” of the downtown Phoenix art scene, from directors Paul Eagleston and Stephen Rose; “Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong” (world premiere), Dan Lindsay’s look into beer pong’s growth into a cultural phenomenon; and John Corey’s “Lost in the Fog” (world premiere) about a championship racehorse.
“La Próxima Ola,” highlighting the best films from first and second time Mexican filmmakers, was a special sidebar in 2007 and is now a permanent section of the Festival. The section includes “Cochochi,” the humble story from directors Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán of two Raramuri boys and their efforts to find a lost horse; “Déficit,” actor Gael García Bernal’s directing debut following complex characters at a house party just outside of Mexico City ; and “¿Dónde Están Sus Historias? (Where Are Their Stories?),” the debut feature from director Nicolás Pereda about family conflicts.
In “Vegas Uncovered,” a special section of documentaries about Las Vegas, CineVegas will screen the world premiere of “Where I Stand,” the story of Hank Greenspun, one of the last great crusading newspaper publishers, from director Scott Goldstein.
“Diamond Discoveries” features the best new independent films available for U.S. distribution. This year’s program includes “Explicit Ills,” Mark Webber’s tale of young love, drugs and poverty; “Finally, Lillian and Dan,” director Mike Gibisser’s meditation on young love; David Zellner’s “Goliath” follows a man as he searches for his missing cat; Abel Ferrara’s strip club comedy “Go-Go Tales;” Jared Drake’s “Visioneers” about an epidemic of people exploding; and “Wellness” from Jake Mahaffy about a lonely salesman in small-town Pennsylvania.
“Sure Bets,” advance screenings of independent studio films, include “The Black List: Volume One,” portraits of twenty prominent African Americans from director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Clark Gregg’s dark comedy “Choke” starring Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston and Kelly Macdonald; the drug-lord documentary “Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ With the Godmother;” “The Cool School,” director Morgan Neville’s look into the underground LA art scene; Alex Gibney’s “GONZO: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,” a probing look into the uncanny life of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson; “Hank and Mike,” a comedy from Matthiew Klinck about two Easter bunnies trying to get their jobs back; “Help Me Eros,” from Taiwanese director Lee Kang-sheng about a man who loses everything; “The Last Mistress,” Catherine Breillat’s tale of a 19th century France love affair; and Azazel Jacob’s personal comedy “Momma’s Man” about a 30-something who refuses to leave his parents’ home.
Included in “Area 52,” a collection of midnight, underground and cult films, are “The Juche Idea,” Jim Finn’s film about a South Korean video artist who comes to a North Korean art residency to help introduce a new idea of cinema; “Mock-Up on Mu,” Craig Baldwin’s take on California’s major military, entertainment and religious industries; “Schoof” (world premiere), Giuseppe Andrew’s tale of a force rampaging Earth in a slow, subtle manner; and “Them!,” Gordon Douglas’ 1954 classic about atomic giant ants.
“Nevada Filmmaking,” features and shorts produced in Nevada or by local filmmakers, includes Francisco Menéndez’s “Primo” (world premiere) about cousins from El Salvador reunited in Las Vegas; “Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake,” a vérité documentary by a group of Reno teenagers from director Michael Albright; and “Women in Boxes” (world premiere), Phil Noyes and Harry Pallenberg’s behind-the-scenes look at magicians’ assistants.
The CineVegas 2008 lineup includes:
A collection of highly anticipated world premieres
”Big Heart City”
Director: Ben Rodkin ( USA , 2007)
An indolent gambling addict attempts to pick up the pieces after the unexplained disappearance of his pregnant girlfriend.
Director: Rachel Samuels ( USA , 2008)
A stylish noir fever dream of blues music, seduction, and murder set in a visually dazzling fantasy of the early 1930’s.
”Happy Birthday, Harris Malden”
Directors: Juan Cardarelli, Ben Davidow, Nick Gregorio, Eric Levy and Matthew Sanchez ( USA , 2008)
Harris Malden has an obvious secret. He fakes his facial hair.
Director: Josh Fox ( USA , 2008)
A ferocious ensemble blurs the lines between documentary and feature film, staging a guerilla filmmaking assault on one of America ’s favorite beach towns.
”She Unfolds by Day”
Director: Wolf Belgum ( USA , 2008)
What began as documentary becomes fiction. What began as fiction becomes a study of nature.
”South of Heaven”
Director: J.L. Vara ( USA , 2008)
A man returns home from serving his country, and must search for his missing brother who is caught up in a crime spree in the Wild West.
”Your Name Here”
Director: Matthew Wilder ( USA , 2008)
America’s greatest science-fiction writer (Bill Pullman) awakes to discover himself, like one of his characters, trapped in an alternate reality … and then another … and another … and …
Documentary features capturing subjects who defy odds and expectations
Director: Aaron Rose ( USA , 2008)
Feature documentary film celebrating the independent and D.I.Y. spirit that unified a loose-knit group of American artists who emerged from the underground youth subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk rock and hip-hop.
”Chelsea on the Rocks”
Director: Abel Ferrara ( USA , 2008)
A portrait of New York ‘s legendary Chelsea Hotel .
Director: Nicola Collins ( USA , 2008)
Against the background of the East End of London England , first time filmmaker Nicola Collins explores the fascinating complexity of the lives of her father and his friends; infamous criminals that shaped their war torn environment into a violent underworld.
”Hi My Name is Ryan”
Directors: Paul Eagleston and Stephen Rose ( USA , 2008)
”Hi My Name is Ryan” gives a glimpse into the life of Ryan Chadwick Avery, the milk and cookies connoisseur, the photo booth artist, the fake mustache aficionado and the punk rock performance artist who was rightfully dubbed the Clown Prince of the downtown Phoenix art scene.
”Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong”
Director: Dan Lindsay ( USA , 2008)
A documentary that follows four individuals as they compete in the 2nd Annual World Series of Beer Pong.
”Lost in the Fog”
Director: John Corey ( USA , 2007)
A cantankerous owner and his blue collar colt earn the right to take on horse racing’s finest but the equine gods intervene at the last minute to turn this would-be fairy tale upside down.
LA PRÓXIMA OLA
Highlighting the next wave of Mexican films and directors
Directors: Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán ( Mexico , 2007)
Set in the Sierra Tarahumara of northwest Mexico, “Cochochi” recounts the humble story of two Raramuri boys and their efforts to find a lost horse.
Director: Gael García Bernal ( Mexico , 2007)
Actor Gael García Bernal’s directing debut is infused with an infectious, youthful energy, voyeuristically following his complex characters at a house party just outside of Mexico City .
”¿Dónde Están Sus Historias? (Where Are Their Stories?) ”
Director: Nicolás Pereda ( Mexico , 2008)
In order to save his grandmother’s property, a small-town man must move to the big city and face a new reality, estranged people and an impenetrable legal system.
A special section of documentaries about the city and the people behind the scenes
”Where I Stand”
Director: Scott Goldstein ( USA , 2008)
Anthony Hopkins narrates the untold story of newspaper publisher Hank Greenspun, whose “Where I Stand” column changed the face of Nevada and the nation.
The best new independent films available for U.S. distribution
Director: Mark Webber ( USA , 2008)
Young love, drugs and poverty collide in the city of Philadelphia creating a beautiful tale of hope and the power of coming together.
”Finally, Lillian and Dan”
Director: Mike Gibisser ( USA , 2007)
An awkward, little love story.
Director: David Zellner ( USA , 2008)
A recently divorced man tries to find the one aspect of his marriage that still matters to him: his missing cat, Goliath.
Director: Abel Ferrara ( USA , 2008)
With a bump-and-grind soundtrack, a terrific (and pulchritudinous) cast and a delightfully improvisatory flow, Abel Ferrara’s strip club comedy, starring Willem Dafoe as the failing club’s indefatigable showman, interweaves multiple storylines with terrific panache.
Director: Jared Drake ( USA , 2007)
One day, repressed people begin exploding. Like the rest of the population, George Washington Winsterhammerman tries to ignore the epidemic and live his usual life, but then he suffers his first symptom: a dream.
Director: Jake Mahaffy ( USA , 2007)
An independent feature about a man trying to succeed in a business that doesn’t exist.
Advance screenings of high profile independent studio films
”The Black List: Volume One”
Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders ( USA , 2008)
22 living portraits by leading African Americans on race, struggle and the seeds of success.
Director: Clark Gregg ( USA , 2007)
A wickedly colorful dark comedy starring Sam Rockwell about mothers and sons, sexual compulsion, and the sordid underbelly of colonial theme parks.
”Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ With the Godmother”
Director: Billy Corben ( USA , 2008)
The true story of multi-millionaire cocaine dealer Charles Cosby, who soon learns that he’s in way over his head.
”The Cool School”
Director: Morgan Neville ( USA , 2007)
The story of Los Angeles ’ legendary Ferus Gallery and the birth of the West Coast modern art scene.
”GONZO: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”
Director: Alex Gibney ( USA , 2008)
A fast moving, wildly entertaining documentary looking into the uncanny life of national treasure and gonzo journalism inventor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
”Hank and Mike”
Director: Matthiew Klinck ( USA , 2008)
Pink. Pissed. Unemployed.
”Help Me Eros”
Director: Lee Kang-sheng ( USA , 2007)
A young stockbroker is left penniless after a stock market crash and soon indulges in a world of erotic and psychedelic pleasures.
”The Last Mistress”
Director: Catherine Breillat ( USA , 2007)
Set in 19th century France, “The Last Mistress” chronicles the love affair between a tempestuous Spanish mistress and a distinguished, well-bred French man.
Director: Azazel Jacobs ( USA , 2008)
A 30-something man stays in his parents’ downtown loft on a business trip, and finds excuses to stay after his consulting job is finished, instead of returning home to his wife and newborn.
”The Rocker” (Opening Night Film)
Director: Peter Cattaneo ( USA , 2008)
”The Rocker” tells the story of a failed drummer who is given a second chance at fame. Robert “Fish” Fishman is the extremely dedicated and astoundingly passionate drummer for the eighties hair band Vesuvius, who is living the rock n’ roll dream until he is unceremoniously kicked out of the band. Twenty years after his rock star fantasies are destroyed, just when Fish has finally given up all hope, he hears that his nephew’s high school rock band, A.D.D., is looking for a new drummer. They reluctantly make him the newest member of the band, giving him a chance to reclaim the rock God throne he’s always thought he deserved, and taking the young band along for the ride of their lives.
”The Great Buck Howard” (Closing Night Film)
Director: Sean McGinly ( USA , 2008)
Law-school dropout Troy Gable (Colin Hanks) answers an ad for a “personal assistant to a celebrity performer,” not knowing that the performer is Buck Howard (John Malkovich), a “mentalist” infamous for his 61 appearances on The Tonight Show, who has been reduced to a has-been magician in need of a pretty big trick to get him out of this slump.
An underground collection of cult and midnight movies for the most hardcore fans
”The Juche Idea”
Director: Jim Finn ( USA , 2008)
A film about a South Korean video artist who comes to a North Korean art residency to help bring Juche cinema into the 21st century.
”Mock-Up on Mu”
Director: Craig Baldwin ( USA , 2008)
A dense, obsessive found-footage “collage narrative” that braids the threads of post-war California culture – Aerospace, Beatniks, and New Age spirituality – into a conceptual Chinese finger-trap ensnaring L. Ron Hubbard and Lockheed Martin’s evil fingers.
Director: Giuseppe Andrews ( USA , 2008)
A force named Schoof began its rampage of Earth in a slow, subtle manner and in the end, it will take a scientist, a willing test subject and a group choral to save the galaxy.
Director: Gordon Douglas ( USA , 1954)
The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization.
NEVADA FILMMAKING FEATURES
Features produced in Nevada or by local filmmakers
Director: Francisco Menéndez ( USA , 2008)
Three cousins (primos) separated as young boys during the civil war in El Salvador , journey to Las Vegas due to their grandfather’s failing health. Now the reunited cousins must overcome a love triangle, a lethal gambling debt and familial revenge.
”Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake
Director: Michael Albright ( USA , 2007)
A documentary about Sonic Youth shot by seven high school students in Reno , NV on the 4th of July.
”Women in Boxes”
Directors: Phil Noyes and Harry Pallenberg ( USA , 2008)
The first and only documentary that discloses the secret lives of Magic’s Better Half: the Magician’s Assistant.
NEVADA FILMMAKING SHORTS
Short films produced in Nevada or by local filmmakers
”The 7th Claus” (Director: Nick Simon, 2008)
”Growing up Vegas” (Director: Amber Beard, 2007)
”Jack The Ripper” (Director: Jonpaul Lewis, 2007)
”Lactose Intolerant” (Director: David Christenson, 2007)
”One Two Punch” (Director: Timothy L. Anderson, 2008)
”Passenger Seat” (Director: Mike Thompson, 2007)
”Wedding Day” (Director: David Schmoeller, 2008)
The Festival will also feature a selection of student films from the CSN and UNLV programs.
These short films embody the creative nature of independent filmmaking. Some will be shown before features, while others are combined to make feature-length programs.
”The Acquaintances of a Lonely John” (Director: Benny Safdie, 2008)
”Alex and her Arse Truck” (Director: Sean Conway, 2007)
”Alternate Ending” (Director: David Fenster, 2007)
”A Catalog of Anticipations” (Director: David Lowery, 2007)
”Chonto” (Director: Carson Mell, 2007)
”The Clay Head” (Director: Tom Barndt, 2008)
”Clear Glasses” (Director: Sam Green, 2008)
”Cowboy” (Director: Matthew Modine, 2008)
”The Drift” (Director: Kelly Sears, 2007)
”The Fence” (Director: Allan Steele, 2008)
”flok” (Director: Andrew Mausert-Mooney, 2008)
”Glory at Sea” (Director: Benh Zeitlin, 2008)
”Home” (Director: Kevin Everson, 2008)
”Home” (Director: Liliana Greenfield-Sanders, 2008)
”I’m Pretty, Too” (Director: Matt Jespersen, 2007)
”Jerry Ruis, Shall We Do This? ” (Director: Josh Safdie, 2007)
”Lección relámpago (Flash Lesson) ” (Director: Alejandro Lubezki, 2007)
”Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: Come Wander with Me” (Director: Phillip Van, 2008)
”Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: She Walked Calmly Disappearing into the Darkness” (Director: Malik Hassan Sayeed, 2008)
”Man” (Director: Myna Joseph, 2007)
”Mr. P” (Director: Jacob Vaughan, 2008)
”Out of Print” (Director: Danny Plotnick, 2008)
”Plot Point” (Director: Nicolas Provost, 2007)
”The Problem with Machines (That Communicate) ” (Director: Matt McCormick, 2008)
”Sick Sex” (Director: Justin Nowell, 2007)
”Sikumi” (Director: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, 2008)
”The Sleuth Incident” (Director: Jason Kupfer, 2008)
”Small Apartment” (Director: Andrew Betzer, 2008)
”Stars and Suns” (Director: Sarah Soquel Morhaim, 2008)
”To Kill an American” (Director: Matthew Modine, 2008)