A mix of several world premieres and a few choice films which debuted recently at major film festivals will highlight the 10th anniversary edition of The Method Fest Film Festival, presented by the City of Calabasas, slated for March 27-April 3 in Calabasas. Named after the famous school of acting, The Method Fest is the only United States festival to focus on acting. “This is the strongest lineup in our festival’s history,” said Don Franken, Executive Director of The Method Fest.
Director Zackary Adler’s “Familiar Strangers,” an offbeat, funny and heartfelt story of a family going through the natural process of negotiating the changing relationships between parents and children, is the festival’s Opening Night Film. Starring Shawn Hatosy, DJ Qualls, Cameron Richardson, Ann Dowd, Nikki Reed and Tom Bower, “Familiar Strangers” screens Thursdy night, March 27, at 7 pm, at the Motion Picture and Television’s Fund Louis B. Mayer Theatre.
Indie gems to be showcased include “The Visitor,” actor and filmmaker Tom McCarthy’s follow-up to his award winning directorial debut “The Station Agent.” Richard Jenkins (“Six Feet Under”) stars as a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor whose life is transformed by a chance encounter in New York City.
Academy Award winner Helen Hunt makes her feature directing debut with “Then She Found Me,” a touching story of schoolteacher April Epner (Hunt) and her very unlikely path towards personal fulfillment, adapted from Elinor Lipman’s novel of the same name. The film also stars Colin Firth, Academy Award nominee Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Lynne Cohen, and Ben Shenkman.
Another thespian turned helmer, Mary Stuart Masterson, debuts with The Cake Eaters,” a quirky, small-town, ensemble drama that explores the lives of two interconnected families coming to terms with love in the face of loss. The film features a strong cast anchored by Bruce Dern, and Melissa Leo and featuring Kristen Stewart, Aaron Stanford, Elizabeth Ashley, Jayce Bartok, Talia Balsam, and Jesse L. Martin.
“Unfinished Sky,” an acclaimed Australian film directed by Peter Duncan and based on the Golden Globe-nominated Dutch film “The Polish Bride,” peels away layers of hurt and mistrust to reveal the beauty of freedom, hope and choice.
Other marquee selections on this year’s Method Fest feature lineup include: “The Stone Angel” with Ellen Burstyn, Christine Horne, Cole Hauser, Ellen Page, and Sheila McCarthy; “Chronic Town,” directed by Tom Hines and starring JR Bourne, Emily Wagner, Jeffrey Scott Jensen, Alice Drummond, Dan Butler and Paul Dooley, and “Diminished Capacity” with Matthew Broderick, Virginia Madsen, Alan Alda and Dylan Baker. Also, “Blue Hour” by Eric Nazarian and starring Paul Dillon, Karen Jones, Karen Kodazian, Austin Marques, and Alyssa Milano, Derrick O’Connor, and Emily Rios.
World premieres include the country-Western themed film, “Crazy,” based on the life of legendary guitar player Hank Garland, directed by Rick Bieber and starring Waylon Payne, Ali Larter, and Lane Garrison; the South African film, “Lullaby,” directed by renowned director, Darrell Roodt (“Yesterday,”” Sarafina,””Cry the Beloved Country”); “Chain Link,” directed by Dylan Reynolds and starring Mark Irvingsen and Jim Storm; “Falling,” directed and starring Richard Dutcher and Virginia Reece; “Harrison Montgomery,” directed by Daniel Davila and starring Martin Landau, Octavio Gomez Berrios; and “True Love,” directed by Henry Barrial, a Sundance alum with his first film, “Some Body.”
A strong late addition to The Method Fest lineup is “Running Funny,” a ‘what to do with one’s life after college, “slacker” comedy by Anthony Grippa. It stars Louis Zorich, Maximmiian Osinski, and Gene Gullerano.
As always, The Method Fest will screen several top international films, including the U.S. premiere of “This Beautiful City” by Ed Glass-Donnelly; the Brazilian film, “Corpo, (Body),” “Eduart” out of Greece, and “Portage,” from Canada.
The Method Fest’s Centerpiece films will be “The Visitor,” Saturday night, March 29, and “Then She Found Me,” Sunday night, March 30, both screening at the Louie B. Mayer Theatre, Motion Picture & Television Fund. “Diminished Capacity” will be the Closing Night film, also scheduled at the Louie B. Mayer Theatre on Wednesday, April 2. The Opening Night film will be announced soon.
There will be a total of 25 features and 48 short films, also from across the U.S. and the globe, screened at this year’s The Method Fest. For the screening schedule and other festival information visit www.methodfest.com or call (310) 535-9230.