By Mark Bell | June 19, 2007

The 2007 CineVegas Film Festival was one of the best programmed festivals of 2007, with a strong selection of good-to-great films (and only one or two legitimate dogs). With the June festival season continuing, and the Summer movie season rolling out the sub-par blockbuster sequels, Film Threat takes one last look back at the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival…

The true strength of any film festival should be its film programming. Panels, parties, celebrity attendees… these are all wonderful aspects of a quality festival, but film festivals should be defined by the films they show. To judge the 2007 CineVegas justly by those standards of film quality is to judge it as one of the best programmed festivals of 2007.

Sure, not all the films were golden, and I personally saw two stinkers that felt less like they were programmed and more like a rogue filmmaker had hijacked the projector room, but every festival has its poor films. On sheer variety of human opinion, you’re going to see something you don’t like eventually (it wasn’t the 2007 Mark Bell’s Favorite Films Festival), and I have to give respect to the festival for taking the chance on films that were so easily capable of dividing or alienating an audience. To explain:

Many festivals, due to the sheer number of these types of films out there, can be accused of falling into a safe medium zone of film medocrity that is neither great nor awful. While this makes for an okay viewing experience, it does not make for a particularly compelling one. The 2007 CineVegas, however, programmed to the outer aspects of the curve, bringing in movies that when you liked them, you really like them and films that, when you hated them, you REALLY hated them. What this does is breed conversation, strong emotion; in short, a film festival experience. Most of us don’t remember the fifteen “eh” films we saw, but those five we loved, or two we hated… that’s what we talk about. And CineVegas delivered more films to love then hate, with no front or back-loading of the festival to take advantage of the weekend attendees, but rather a smooth, spread-out daily selection of strong films. Every day had the potential of being the day you saw your new favorite film, and that is not as common at film festivals as a passionate film fan would want or expect.

The parties were amazing, the celebrity sightings were of a new caliber (I never thought I’d be a foot from Brad Pitt ever, not that it’s particularly special to me but… I never thought it would happen) and the people involved intelligent and fun, but I walk away from the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival quoting my new favorite films, remembering insightful film conversation and THAT is what a film festival experience is all about.

Trevor Groth, Mike Plante, the CineVegas press team and all staff and volunteers of the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival are to be commended for such a quality year all around, and the festival truly took a strong step in the direction of being included in that exclusive grouping of “film festivals you must submit to or attend annually,” if it wasn’t already dancing in that arena. I know I never want to miss another year of CineVegas, and I can’t wait for 2008!

Here’s all the 2007 CineVegas reviews currently available on the site, followed with a listing of the remaining reviews to show up in the next few days. Special thanks to those Film Threat writers who put in the time in the theater to deliver these reviews: Don R. Lewis and Jamie Tipps. Couldn’t have survived the festival without the two of you rocking as hard as you did:
“Aftermath on Meadowlark Lane”
“Broken English”
“Business Johnson”
“The Caress of the Creature”
“Choose Connor”
“The Devil Came on Horseback”
“Eagle vs Shark”
“Everything Will Be OK”
“The Fifth Patient”
“The Grand”
“Have Love, Will Travel”
“The Hunter”
“Kurt Cobain About a Son”
“The Living Wake”
“Loren Cass”
“Ocean’s Thirteen”
“On the Road with Judas”
“Rocket Science”
“Throwing Stars”

“All God’s Children Can Dance”
“Blue State”
“California Dreamin’ (Endless)”
“I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone”
“I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal”
“In the Land of Merry Misfits”
“Mr. Untouchable”
“Never on a Sunday (Morirse en Domingo)”
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon”
“You Kill Me”

If you wanted our more candid opinions of CineVegas and a day-by-day accounting of our debauchery, the Film Threat Blogs were/are the place to look. To make things easier for you now, however, here’s all the 2007 CineVegas blog entries:
Mark & Don…On the Loose at Cinevega$!!!
It’s true, Cinevegas looms…
You will believe a man could CineVegas…
2007 CineVegas Opening Night is in the books…
Sharks and beers… again…
We’ve got Zellner…
Fun at the “Living Wake”…
My Name is… not so hot…
All must pass through Ellis Island…
Taking a night off…
Bowling with the Gods… now with pictures…
The end in sight…
We’ve got tonight… who needs tomorrow…
The 2007 CineVegas is over…

I’ll admit, I wanted to get more video than what is below, but I had a number of equipment issues that occured that made this pretty impossible. Instead, I’ll be transcribing a few interviews in the next few days to add to the site, and I hope you enjoy what exists below:
2007 CineVegas: Film Threat’s Red Carpet Adventure
Hunting “The Hunter” Interview with Director Ben Gray

The 2007 CineVegas Film Festival was one of the best film festivals I’ve attended all year, and is also in my Top Five Film Festival Experiences Ever. Next year, if you can find it clear to get to Las Vegas in June and if you love independent films, you need to attend CineVegas.

– Mark Bell, Editor-in-CineVegas recovery

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