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By Film Threat Staff | June 10, 2005

As it celebrates “100 Years of Las Vegas, 100 Years of Film,” the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival returns to the Palms Casino Resort and Brenden Theatres from June 10-18. While honoring seven entertainment icons, the seventh annual CineVegas will offer nearly a dozen highly anticipated world and U.S. premieres, advance screenings of high-profile films, the best new independent films seeking distribution, movies from the underground, and homegrown Nevada film fare that makes good on this year’s celebratory theme.
CineVegas 2005 opens on June 10 with the MTV Films drama Hustle & Flow, directed by Craig Brewer (Water’s Edge) and produced by two-time Oscar nominee John Singleton. With a cast that includes Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Taryn Manning, Isaac Hayes and DJ Qualls, the film spotlights a Memphis street hustler in mid-life crisis who, with help from his friends, seeks to become a successful rapper. The festival will close nine days later with the world premiere of George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead, the most recent of the director’s zombie flicks (Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead). In this Universal Pictures horror film starring Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento and Simon Baker, the living dead have taken over the world and the remnants of humanity try to protect themselves within a walled city.
Among the festival’s other offerings, under the category of “Jackpot Premieres,” are Buy It Now, directed by Antonio Campos; Charlie’s Party, directed by Catherine Cahn; Firefly, directed by Pete Marcy; In Memory of My Father, directed by Christopher Jaymes and starring Jeremy Sisto, Judy Greer and Monet Mazur; Inside Out, directed by David Ogden and starring Steven Weber, Eriq LaSalle and Nia Peeples; Little Athens, directed by Tom Zuber; Self-Medicated, directed by Monty Lapica; Standing Still, directed by Matthew Cole Weiss and starring Amy Adams, Colin Hanks, James Van Der Beek, Mena Suvari and Aaron Stanford; Trona, directed by David Fenster; Turning Green, directed by Michael Aimette and John Hofmann and starring Timothy Hutton, Alessandro Nivola and Colm Meaney; and Vegas Baby, directed by Eric Bernt and starring Kal Penn.

The festival’s “Sure Bets,” advance screenings of high-profile films that have secured U.S. distribution, include 9 Songs, directed by Michael Winterbottom; The Aristocrats, a film by Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette; The Devil’s Rejects, director Rob Zombie’s follow-up to House of 1,000 Corpses; Last Days, directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Michael Pitt, Asia Argento and Lukas Haas; Mad Hot Ballroom, directed by Marilyn Agrelo; Me and You and Everyone We Know, directed by Miranda July; Murderball, directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro; and Rize, directed by David LaChapelle.

Distributors looking for American-produced as well as foreign independent films need look no further than this year’s CineVegas. During its nine-day run, its “Diamond Discoveries” include 5th World, directed by Blackhorse Lowe; About Love, a Chinese/Japanese co-production directed by Ten Shimoyama, Chih-Yen Yee and Yibai Zhang; Holiday Dreaming, a Taiwanese project directed by Hsu Fu-Chun; Losing Ground, directed by Bryan Wizemann; The Outsider, directed by Nicholas Jarecki; Red Doors, directed by Georgia Lee; and Spicebush, directed by Kevin Jerome Everson. As films in its “Area 52” category (“bizarre films from the underground”) continue to multiply like irradiated creatures, the first on the list is the world premiere of Radiant, directed by Steve Mahone.

Similarly amassing are “Nevada Filmmaking” selections, starting with Tim Onosko’s Lost Vegas: The Lounge Era, a look at the early singers and entertainers that defined young Vegas, and As We Knew It: The Story of Classic Las Vegas, director Lynn Zook’s work in progress spotlighting the mom & pop business owners, dealers, ensemble performers and others who see themselves as the “real Las Vegans.” CineVegas also celebrates the Las Vegas Centennial by showing four retro Las Vegas films selected through a poll of fans: Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Showgirls (1995) and Viva Las Vegas (1964).

For more info, visit the Cinevegas website.

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