Philadelphia Cinefest announces film lineup, award recognition and fest highlights
As previously announced, this year’s festival lineup is bookended by comedic films lauded by attendees at Sundance, SXSW, and the Austin Film Festival, to name a few. Kicking off this year’s festival as part of our first ever, opening night double feature is the entirely dynamic and irreverent film The Catechism Cataclysm, from bad boy independent director/screenwriter Todd Rohal. Direct from Sundance, The Catechism Cataclysm is a film about Father Billy, who goes on a camping trip with his high school pal. It’s far from your usual bible story or, for that matter, a film about discovering the great outdoors; but festival goers will be pleased to be among the first to view this weird, hilarious and shocking crowd pleaser that’s sure to become an instant cult classic. As CineFest Managing Director Josh Goldbloom says, “If Satan rolled a joint, this is what it would taste like.”
Rohal’s Slamdance-winning feature debut The Guatemalan Handshake established the director as someone with a unique vision and a keen eye for the strange, drawing comparisons to the early works of Richard Linklater, Harmony Korine and David Lynch. Named as one of the “25 new faces of independent cinema” by Filmmaker Magazine, Rohal continues to push boundaries with this follow-up film - and first effort from Danny McBride, Jody Hill and David Gordon Green’s Rough House Pictures.
Screening on Thursday, April 7 at 9:00pm at the Ritz East, Rohal will introduce The Catechism Cataclysm and participate in a revealing question and answer period after the premiere with cast members Steve Little, Robert Longstreet and producer Megan Griffiths.
For the earlier opening night crowd, “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal will take festival goers on an unforgettably hilarious, sometimes frustrating, trip to Moscow as he works on creating the Russian version of his hit TV show, in his film Exporting Raymond. Screening at 6:30pm at the Ritz East, Rosenthal will introduce his film and participate in an entertaining question and answer period after the premiere.
Following the screening, festival goers will celebrate the start of CineFest 2011 with an evening under the stars at the marvelous Independence Visitor Center. With breathtaking views from the Liberty View Ballroom and Terrace on the historic Independence Mall, attendees will dance and celebrate the night away with a live deejay while enjoying the generously stocked bar, from 9:30pm-1:00am.
Mid-way through the 8-day festival, CineFest will honor John Carpenter with the Phantasmagoria Award. For many individuals, Carpenter represents one of the most vital, distinctive and exciting links between the “New Hollywood” film school generation of the 1970s, and the classical cinematic storytelling of figures like Hawks and Ford. He is an American original, seemingly as comfortable thriving within the studio system as toiling independently in the low-budget arena, and he has given contemporary American cinema some of its most enduring archetypes: Snake Plissken, Michael Myers, and Napoleon Wilson.
Carpenter transformed the cinematic landscape with the enormously influential horror film Halloween in 1978, a masterfully crafted exercise in suspense that remains effective even after decades of sequels, remakes and imitations. This classic of the genre was actually Carpenter’s third feature, following his counter-culture science fiction parody Dark Star (1974) and the extraordinary police action thriller Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). Assault would initiate several recurring Carpenter trademarks: an overpowering sense of fate bordering on doom; an expert use of the 2.35:1 Panavision widescreen frame; Carpenter’s own composition of the music score; and the ability to shift themes and relationships more traditionally associated with the western, into other genres.
Following the success of Halloween, Carpenter delivered two more independent genre films, the underrated and understated The Fog (1980) and the enormously crowd-pleasing futuristic action favorite Escape from New York (1981), before moving into big-budget studio filmmaking with a new version of The Thing in 1982. Amongst his credits are the wonderfully acted and affecting Starman (1984) and the anarchic, genre-bending comedy Big Trouble in Little China (1986); science-fiction/horror films with an apocalyptic edge, Prince of Darkness (1987) and the marvelous They Live (1988), an allegorical satire of Reagan-era America that was also remarkably prophetic.
Carpenter will be awarded the Phantasmagoria Award on Monday, April 11, 8:00pm at The Trocadero. Carpenter’s newest film The Ward will screen during CineFest on Friday, April 8 at 10:00pm and Saturday, April 9 at midnight, at the Ritz East.
Moving from horror to supreme fighter-action, CineFest brings back fest genre Action Asia, after a ten year absence. Action Asia celebrates genre cinema from Asia - intoxicatingly enthralling films brimming with non-stop action, bone-crunching fight scenes, gravity-defying kung-fu and enough operatic violence to keep any fan satiated. Programming standouts include Bodyguards and Assassins, two hours of non-stop action in a hyperventilating tale set in a politically violent turn-of-the-century Hong Kong (which, by film’s end, is nearly destroyed!); and Fire of Conscience, a dazzling and stylish police thriller from director Dante Lam set on the streets of Hong Kong where robbers and gunrunners battle with cops. Loud, violent and furiously paced.
Taking Action Asia beyond the walls of the screening venues, festival goers will head to The Piazza at Schmidt's on Sunday, April 10 for an all day martial arts mini-fest, celebrating the greatest action star you've probably never heard of, Tony Jaa! In an hour and a half Tony Jaa movie, the survival rate for everyone also drops to zero. Punches, kicks, spinning backfists, and mid-air elbow strikes. A down roundhouse kick, sideways foot thrust, double elbow to head chop, and Flying knee bomb. If you’re a bad dude in a Tony Jaa movie, so long sucka!
And so we begin Tony Jaa Fest. Not a one-off or an impulsive “fanboy” display of affection. This is the first of what we hope to be many. It is CineFest’s way of celebrating our favorite martial arts superstar, a man who has made far too few films, yet inspired us through his sheer audacity and bewildering display of badassery.
Screening all 3 of his ONG BAK films, and featuring martial arts demonstrations all day, CineFest will be turning the entire Piazza into a giant marketplace.
With 60+ films assembled from over 17 countries, and showcasing 2 World Premieres, 1 USA Premiere, and 7 East Coast Premieres, CineFest has returned with more thrills, more comedy, more action, and a wider range of films, highlighted by highly anticipated new works from festival and independent favorites
CineFest screening locations will include the Ritz East One and Two, the Painted Bride and the legendary Trocadero. Tickets go on sale to Philadelphia Cinema Alliance and Philadelphia Film Society members Monday, March 21 - Wednesday, March 23, by phone only; and go on sale to the general public via phone, online and in all TLA stores on Thursday, March 24.
For more information, visit www.phillycinefest.com or call 267-765-9800 ext. 4; and follow the festival on Twitter: @CinefestPhilly and Facebook: www.facebook.com/phillycinefest
The full festival lineup is as follows:
The Catechism Cataclysm
(USA, 2011, 81 mins, Dir: Todd Rohal)
If Satan rolled a joint, this is what it would taste like. The new comedy from Executice Producers, Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green. Starring Steve Little (Eastbound & Down).
Director Todd Rohal, Steve Little, and Robert Longstreet in attendance, as well as other special guests!
(USA, 2010, 86 mins, Dir: Philip Rosenthal)
An often hilarious documentary about Phillip Rosenthal, creator of the hit TV show "Everybody Loves Raymond" and his calamitous adventures when he goes to Russia to work on their version of the show. Phillip Rosenthal will be in attendance.
POM Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold
(USA, 2011, 90 mins, Dir: Morgan Spurlock)
Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) sets his subversive wit on branding, advertising and product placement by creating an expose on the subject that itself is financed by brands, advertising and product placement. Morgan Spurlock in attendance.
(USA, 2011, 140 mins, Dir: Steve James)
Filmed over a year in the mean streets of Chicago, this unforgettable documentary by Steve James tells the inspiring story of a group of former gang members who now work at diffusing the violence that grips their neighborhood.
(Finland, Sweden, Ireland, 2010, 90 mins, Dir: Dome Karukoski)
Ulysses' challenges in his Odyssey will seem like a walk through the park in comparison to what faces Janne, a young man who goes on a rollercoaster ride of bizarre encounters while in his search for a cable box. A hilarious Finnish comedy.
(USA, 2011, 90 mins, Dir: Caytha Jentis)
Fubar: Balls to the Walls
(Canada, 2010, 85 mins, Dir: Michael Dowse)
Director Michael Dowse appeals to the wild and fun side in everyone in this hilarious adventure of a film filled with lovable characters and a comedic plotline.
Heavy Metal karaoke to follow as well as a headbanger costume party.
Score: A Hockey Musical - Presented by Philadelphia Sports Cineseries
(Canada, 2010, 92 mins, Dir: Michael McGowan)
Combine the exuberant vocals and dancing of "Glee" with the cross-checking ferocity of Slap Shot (Paul Newman, 1976) and you get this irresistibly charming coming-of-age tale from our friends in the frozen north.
(France, 2010, 103 mins, Dir: François Ozon)
Three powerhouses of French Cinema: Francois Ozon, Catherine Deneuve, and Gérard Depardieu combine their talents in this delightfully frothy battle of the sexes and classes.
Beloved Berlin Wall
(Germany, 2010, 103 mins, Dir: Peter Timm)
An East Berlin board guard falls in love with a young woman from the West, which attracts the attentions of the feared Stasi, in this seductively romantic story of forbidden love.
Brother and Sister
(Argentina, 2010, 105 mins, Dir: Daniel Burman)
A brother and sister -- both in their 60s, but complete opposites -- are bound together in a love-hate relationship in this affecting and at times funny family drama directed by Daniel Burman.
(Japan, 2010, 85 mins, Dir: Kôji Wakamatsu)
Set in 1940, a severely mutilated soldier returns from war, honored by the Japanese Imperialist government as a hero. But his horrified wife needs to attend to him, something she is reluctant to do - a startling family drama and anti-war film.
The High Cost of Living
(Canada, 2010, 92 mins, Dir: Deborah Chow)
Zach Braff (Garden State, “Scrubs”) stars as a sleazy drug dealer who hits a pregnant woman with his car. The two lost souls form an unlikely friendship as both attempt to reconcile their lives after the accident.
The Human Resources Manager
(Israel, 2010, 103 mins, Dir: Eran Riklis)
Filled with memorable characters and unpredictability, this Israeli road movie travels from Jerusalem to Bulgaria as an HR manager is forced to accompany the body of a dead co-worker to her isolated village.
(Canada, France, 2010, 130 mins, Dir: Denis Villeneuve)
An Academy Award Nominee (Best Foreign Language Film) Incendies tells the powerful and moving tale of two young adults' voyage to the core of deep-rooted hatred, never-ending wars and enduring love. An original and powerful political film.
(Spain, 2010, 112 mins, Dir: Guillem Morales)
Guillermo del Toro presents this excitingly tense thriller about a woman, slowly going blind, who begins a dangerous investigation into her sister's mysterious suicide.
(France, USA, 2011, 100 mins, Dir: Alrick Brown)
A harrowing but life-affirming drama set in 1994 when the bloody civil war between the Hutus and Tutsis threatened the lives of countless innocent people. A 2011 Sundance Audience Award Winner.
Living on Love Alone
(France, 2010, 90 mins, Dir: Isabelle Czajka)
Numbed by a series of unsatisfying jobs, a 23-year-old woman becomes dangerously involved with a petty thief in this fast-paced drama by exciting new director Isabelle Czajka.
(Ukraine, Germany, Netherlands, 2010, 127 mins, Dir: Sergei Loznitsa)
A truck driver, lost in the back roads of rural Russia, descends into a violent, horrific world. An unsettling parable of contemporary Russia, vividly filmed.
(Chile, USA, 2010, 88 mins, Dir: Pedro Peirano, Sebastián Silva)
Chilean directors Pedro Peirano and Sebastián Silva, who previously collaborated on the acerbic drama The Maid, have crafted a richly textured portrait of an aging actress’ descent into a frightening and fantastical world of dementia.
(Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010, 96 mins, Dir: Djo Tunda Wa Munga)
A hyperventilating Congolese gangster movie...you heard right. Viva Riva!, winner of Best Feature Film Award at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, is an action-packed thriller about oil, money, sex and greed. A perfect film for our last
THE DOCUMENTARY TRADITION
(UK, 2011, 93 mins, Dir: James Marsh)
This disturbing documentary from the acclaimed director of Man on a Wire shows what happens when a group of social scientists decides to perform an experiment on an unsuspecting baby chimpanzee and raise him in a glitzy Upper West Side home just li
American: The Bill Hicks Story
(USA, 2009, 102 mins, Dir: Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas)
I just have one of those faces. People come up to me and say, "What's wrong?" Nothing. "Well, it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile." Yeah, you know it takes more energy to point that out than it does to leave me alone?
Live standup comedy provided by 24/7 Comedy before and after the screening.
(USA, India, 2011, 83 mins, Dir: Van Maximilian Carlson)
A stirring documentary on the people of the central Indian city of Bhopal and their lives still affected by the horrific gas leakage in 1984 - the worst industrial accident ever and one that killed and sickened hundreds of thousands of people.
(Canada, 2010, 91 mins, Dir: Jay Cheel)
Before there was Jackass…before there was Tom Green…there was Ralph Zavadil, Niagara Falls cable access daredevil, Cap’n Video.
Complexo: Parallel Universe
(Portugal, 2011, 80 mins, Dir: Mário Patrocínio)
A startling documentary set in the incredibly poor and often violent favelas of Rio de Janeiro. One gets to see what it is like to live in this different reality, a universe on the margin of the conventional civilized world, an inside out vision.
Everyday Sunshine: The Story Of Fishbone
(USA, 2010, 103 mins, Dir: Lev Anderson, Chris Metzler)
Iconic film star Laurence Fishburne narrates this uncompromising look into the tumultuous personal and professional lives of the pioneering African American rock band, Fishbone
Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja
(USA, 2011, 96 mins, Dir: Billy Corben)
This wildly entertaining documentary looks at the wild days of pot smuggling in 1970s South Florida. Directed by Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman, the filmmakers behind the popular "Cocaine Cowboys" series and ESPN’s "The U".
(USA, 2010, 89 mins, Dir: Max Winkler)
An irreverent, wacky comedy which marks the directorial debut of Max Winkler (son of Henry). A loose narrative, witty dialogue and a will-she-or-won't-she dilemma for Uma Thurman.
(USA, 2010, 105 mins, Dir: Evan Glodell)
Bellflower follows two friends who spend their time building fire-breathing building muscle cars and other weapons of mass destruction, as they prepare for the impending global apocalypse.
(USA, 2010, 108 mins, Dir: Oren Kaplan)
A true story, based on the life of deaf UFC fighter Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, this inspiring film shows what it takes to be a champion, on and off the mat.
Director Oren Kaplan in attendance.
(USA, 2011, 101 mins, Dir: Azazel Jacobs)
A moving and often darkly funny film about a big kid in a small town that doesn’t seem to have room for anyone who is different. That is, until he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his school's vice principal (John C. Reilly).
Two Gates of Sleep
(USA, 2010, 78 mins, Dir: Alistair Banks Griffin)
One of the most visually striking independent films of the decade, reminiscent of the work by the great Terrance Malick, Two Gates of Sleep is an American independent masterpiece.
Cast & Crew in attendance.
(USA, Canada, 2010, 120 mins, Dir: Iwai Shunji)
The first English-language film from acclaimed Japanese director Shunji Iwai, this haunting portrait of melancholia and loneliness finds his unique style intact.
(USA, 2011, 96 mins, Dir: Clay Liford)
A timid teacher plots revenge against students who ridicule and abuse him in this pitch black comedy set in Texas.
FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENTS
Good Day for It
(USA, 2011, 93 mins, Dir: Nick Stagliano)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) plays a man making a long overdue trip home who crosses the scary backwoods where he encounters two sociopathic thugs, (Lance Henriksen & Robert Englund at their grimiest), who've been waiting eagerly for him.
(USA, 2011, 99 mins, Dir: Derek Lindeman)
This dark romantic comedy follows Ari, a young woman whose poor taste in men may be the death of her when she tries to find love with her would-be killer.
Cost of a Soul
(USA, 2010, 105 mins, Dir: Sean Kirkpatrick)
A gritty story of two veterans who return home from Iraq only to find themselves trapped in the same North Philadelphia slums they joined the military to escape. Their lives collide as their own families become entangled in a web of crime and corruption.
The Legend Of Sofa Kingdom
(USA, 2010, 96 mins, Dir: Steve Kearney)
It's all about Quizzo, Philadelphia’s pub quiz game. Local teams (Sofa Kingdom) and celebrities (Johnny Goodtimes, the Bob Barker of Quizzo hosts) involved with it are showcased in this entertaining documentary.
Bodyguards and Assassins
(China (Hong Kong), 2009, 139 mins, Dir: Teddy Chan)
Prepare yourself for over two hours of non-stop action in this hyperventilating tale set in a politically violent turn-of-the-century Hong Kong (which, by film’s end, is nearly destroyed!). Wildly entertaining.
Fire of Conscience
(China (Hong Kong), 2010, 106 mins, Dir: Dante Lam)
A dazzling and stylish police thriller from director Dante Lam set on the streets of Hong Kong where robbers and gunrunners battle with cops. Loud, violent and furiously paced.
Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster
(China (Hong Kong), 2010, 108 mins, Dir: Wilson Yip)
International megastar Donnie Yen reprises his iconic role as the real-life kung fu grandmaster Ip Man in this martial arts spectacular.
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
(China (Hong Kong), 2010, 105 mins, Dir: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung)
From Andrew Lau, director of the Infernal Affairs films, comes this bone crunching, high impact martial arts spectacular. It combines superhero intrigue with the classic spy thrillers of the past (and a healthy dose of film noir).
DANGER AFTER DARK
(USA, 2010, 88 mins, Dir: John Carpenter)
John Carpenter, one of the architects of contemporary American horror, returns with this chilling, atmospheric yarn about a group of institutionalized young women haunted by the ghost of a former patient.
(Japan, 2010, 144 mins, Dir: Shion Sono)
Danger After Dark luminary Sion Sono (Suicide Club) returns with a hyper-gory and complex “true crime” serial killer shocker.
(India, 2010, 155 mins, Dir: S. Shankar)
Spectacular special effects drive this lavish Indian science fiction/musical epic about mad robot love.
(USA, 2010, 95 mins, Dir: Jim Mickle)
A post-apocalyptic vampire road movie, the award-winning fest favorite Stake Land combines bloody mayhem with sharp social commentary.
The Troll Hunter
(Norway, 2010, 90 mins, Dir: André Øvredal)
A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious stranger, who is on the hunt for giant trolls. You’ll believe it when you see it!
(USA, 2010, 102 mins, Dir: Lucky McKee)
Director Lucky McKee’s unflinchingly brutal shocker about a feral woman, “tamed” by a crazed family man, arrives with a rather notorious festival reputation. Prepare to be shocked.
Director Lucky McKee in attendance.
(Germany, Hungary, France, 2010, 107 mins, Dir: Benedek Fliegauf)
Science Fiction fans rejoice, you have found your must see film of this year’s festival. If this is the future, prepare yourself for some super weird and creepy situations.
Tony Jaa Fest: Ong Bak 1-3
“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” – Fight Club
In an hour and a half Tony Jaa movie, the survival rate for everyone also drops to zero. Punches, kicks, spinning backfists, and mid-air elbow strikes. A down roundhouse kick, sideways foot thrust, double elbow to head chop, and Flying knee bomb. If you’re a bad dude in a Tony Jaa movie, so long sucka!
And so we begin Tony Jaa Fest. Not a one-off or an impulsive “fanboy” display of affection. This is the first of what we hope to be many. It’s our way of celebrating our favorite martial arts superstar, a man who has made far too few films, yet inspired us through his sheer audacity and bewildering display of badassery.
Jaa Panom, or as we know him – Tony Jaa, was born February 5th, 1976 in a rural area of the Surin Province of Thailand. Practicing in his father’s rice paddy at a young age, Jaa would mimic his favorite martial artists, including: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, & Jet Li. He would also fashion his technique by somersaulting off the top of his family’s elephants. Later in ONG BAK 2, he would actually run on top of a stampeding herd. In TOM-YUM-GOONG or THE PROTECTOR, he would developed his own style of Muy Thai to imitate elephants.
Jaa’s first hit film was 2003’s ONG BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR, premiering as the closing night film of the Bangkok International Film Festival. It went on to be an international martial arts classic with the New York Daily News claiming “It’s not so often that you witness the creation of a star, so grab the chance now”.
We want you to know Tony Jaa. If you do know him, I’m quite sure you’ll join us in his celebration. If you do not know him, we’d love to give you a proper introduction.
Unfortunately, Tony Jaa, at the young age of 35, has retired from filmmaking. After a rough production on Ong Bak 2, which was split into two parts shaping Ong Bak 3, and sickened by the Hollywood methods of control, he rode an Elephant to a monastery, and gave up his career to be a Buddhist Monk.
But, we want him back.
So we ask you to join us in our jubilation, a triumph for the powerful, a ceremony for the man who has always protected the weak. Let him be unleashed again, fighting his way 14 flights of stairs, beating the piss out of dirty scum bad guys who abuse their elephants. Let him soar through the mean streets of martial arts movies again, with his spinning heel kicks, and straight knee strikes, pummeling the masses with reverse foot thrusts & evasive body redirection. We want you back Tony Jaa, And if we can’t have that, well…..we’ll just throw a party in your name, instead.
All 3 Ong Bak movies will be screened for free, outdoors, with martial arts demos all day long.