By Film Threat Staff | March 14, 2002

The Taos Talking Picture Festival 2002, featuring films from 25 countries, and more than a dozen world and U.S. premiers, is scheduled for April 11-14. The Festival kicks off with the U.S. premiere of Rare Birds, the latest film by Oscar-nominated director Sturla Gunnarson (Such a Long Journey, Gerrie and Louise). The comedy stars William Hurt as a restaurant owner who gets mixed up in a hoax. The Friday Night Showcase is Lovely and Amazing, Nicole Holofcener’s acclaimed second feature, starring Catherine Keener and Brenda Blethyn.
The Festival screens 29 feature films, 10 documentaries, and seven programs of shorts. Films were selected from 1,342 submissions and 350 films viewed at other festivals. In addition, the Festival offers tributes, special programs, Media Forum presentations, Taos Talking Pixels multimedia programming, parties, and various educational events.
Highlights from the feature film program include Skins, the long-awaited second feature from Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals); Briar Patch, the world premiere of a film starring Dominique Swain; Grand Champion, the world premiere of Barry Tubb’s film, with cameos from George Strait, Bruce Willis, and Julia Roberts; The Business of Fancydancing, poet Sherman Alexie’s first film; The Zookeeper, starring Sam Neill; Waterboys, a Japanese comedy from the director of My Secret Cache; the world premieres of the romantic comedy Tattoo, A Love Story and the touching drama Mother Ghost; the teen drama Home Room, starring Erika Christensen; and Glissando, a road-trip drama, in its U.S. premiere. There are also feature films from Uruguay, Venezuela, Senegal, Armenia, and Austria.
The documentaries being presented this year are American Standoff, Blue Vinyl, Devil’s Playground, Escuela, Much Ado About Something, Ravi Shankar: Between Two Worlds, Ram Dass: Fierce Grace, Rocks with Wings, See How They Run, and The Shaman’s Apprentice. Included in the Festival’s seven shorts offerings are Animation 2002 and Rages and Rhymes, a program of work by youth producers from around the country. There are 50 short films included in the Festival, along with a showcase of works made in New Mexico.
The Festival is hosting more than 100 filmmakers; a guest will represent nearly every program. Among the award-winning guests whose attendance is confirmed are Susan Sarandon (five Oscar nominations, winning best actress for Dead Man Walking), John Sayles and Maggie Renzi (two Oscar nominations), Haskell Wexler (five Oscar nominations, winning best cinematography for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Bound for Glory), Barbara Kopple (two Oscars, American Dream and Harlan County, U.S.), Dana Delany (five Emmy nominations), and Sturla Gunnarson (one Oscar nomination). Invited guests who will attend, schedule permitting, are William Hurt (three Oscar nominations), Peter Fonda (two Oscar nominations), and Sarah Polley (two Genie nominations).
Two awards will be given out. The Taos Land Grant awards five acres of land on Taos Mesa to a filmmaker who demonstrates passion and inventiveness in using the moving image to tell our stories. The Méliès Award recognizes short-form filmmakers of great promise.
For more info, visit the official Taos Talking Picture Festival web site.
Check out FILMTHREAT.com’s FILM FESTIVAL ARCHIVES for more fest news!

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