Binational Film Fest: Indie films grace El Paso, Juarez


In film, �independent� technically refers to a film produced outside of a major studio. More loosely, however, an independent film is one that�s unconventional, eccentric, avant-garde and sometimes groundbreaking.

Many of the most notable films of the last decade were created without major studio financing. �The Passion of the Christ,� �Crash,� �Juno� and �Slumdog Millionaire� were influential and significant to the movie industry as a whole � not just the indie scene. Organizers of the 10th annual Binational Independent Film Festival hope that the movies they have selected to screen this year will have a strong showing as well.

�The films we are going to show are different from anything you have seen,� says Cesar Alejandro, film festival organizer and president of Alexandria Films. �They are brand new on the indie scene and do not follow your typical Hollywood formula.�

The film fest attracted more than 5,000 attendees last year alone. Organizers hope for 6,500 this year. Screenings will take place in El Paso at the UTEP Union Cinema and in Juarez at the Centro Cultural Paso del Norte.

�A film festival is something that occurs seldom in El Paso,� Alejandro says. �After each feature, the audience will have a chance to engage with and put questions forth to directors, actors and producers. We have a wide variety of films this year from drama to comedy and even animation.�

Films slated to compete for honors like Best Feature and Best Screenplay hail from a variety of locations, including the U.S., Mexico, Canada and even South Africa.

One of this year�s most buzzed-about films, the Canadian thriller �Sweet Karma,� sheds sinister light on human sex trafficking. The film follows a young mute Russian woman, Karma, who finds that her sister was sold into sexual slavery and found dead outside Toronto. Karma sets out for revenge. After the showing on Tuesday will be a talk with producer James Fler and director Andrew Thomas Hunt.

For lighter fare, the following night will showcase the U.S. premiere of the Mexican film �Conozca la Cabeza de Juan P�rez.� The comedic debut feature of writer/director Emilio Portes is a tale told by the severed head of Juan Perez about how he reached his fate. The story playfully juxtaposes its grim story line with humor and wit to produce a unique approach to guillotine-related film. Following the film will be a talk with Silverio Palacios, the actor who plays the film�s title character.

Another film, �The Last Survivor,� has critics buzzing about its potential during awards show season.

�I really think it may be nominated for an Oscar� Alejandro says.

The U.S. documentary, which will be shown on Thursday, Jan. 14, interviews survivors of genocide conflicts and the after effects of their struggle. The feature follows their stories as they try to spread understanding about mass tragedies and to promote peace through educational awareness and civic engagement.

Another highlight of the festival is a presentation on Friday of a lifetime achievement award for American playwright, writer and film director Luiz Valdez. His impressive credentials include writing and directing both �Zoot Suit� and �La Bamba.� Valdez, often referred to as the father of Chicano theater, marched with Cesar Chavez and is revered by many as an idol.

�He really is an icon of the Chicano movement,� Alejandro says. �We are so proud to be able to celebrate his life and accomplishments at the 10th anniversary of our film festival.�

El Paso Showings

Binational Independent
Film Festival
January 8-16

El Paso showings
(all at the UTEP Union Cinema)

Friday, Jan. 8
7 p.m. feature: �Zoot Suit� (U.S.)

Talk with director/writer Luiz Valdez and singer/actor Little Joe

Sat., Jan. 9
4 p.m. short: �A Day Without a Mexican�

7 p.m. feature: �Last Lullaby� (U.S.)

Both films followed by talks with writer/director/producer Sergio Arau

Sunday, Jan. 10
4 p.m. doc: �Intimidades� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Norteado� (Mexico)

Monday, Jan. 11
4 p.m. doc: �Siete Instantes� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Naco es Chido� (Mexico)

Talk with director Jeff Scheftel

Tuesday, Jan. 12
4 p.m. doc: �Rehje� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Sweet Karma� (Canada)

Talk with producer James Fler and director Andrew Thomas Hunt

Wed., Jan. 13
4 p.m. doc: �Dance with the Devil� (U.S.)

Talk with director Zalman King

7 p.m. feature: �Conozca la Cabeza de Juan Perez� (Mexico)

Talk with actor Silverio Palacios

Thur., Jan. 14
4 p.m. doc: �The Last Survivor� (U.S.)

Talk with director/writer/producer Jeff Scheftel

7 p.m. feature �Finding Lenny� (South Africa)

Talk with Arturo Chavez

Fri., Jan. 15
4 p.m. �Abrir para Cerrar Celdas� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Espiral� (Mexico)

Sat., Jan. 16
4 p.m. doc: �Tijuaneados An�nimos� (Mexico)

Talk with actor Rafael Incl�n

7 p.m. feature: �Dixie Dynamite� (U.S.)

Talk with producer/director Bob Clark

All 4 p.m. showings free

All 7 p.m. features $4

Juarez Showings
Binational Film Independent Film Festival
January 8-16

Juarez showings
(all at the Centro Cultural Paso del Norte)

Saturday, Jan. 9
4 p.m. doc: �Rehje� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Naco es Chido� (Mexico)

Sunday, Jan. 10
4 p.m. �A Day Without a Mexican� (Mexico)

7 p.m. �Vaho� (Mexico)

Monday, Jan. 11
4 p.m. doc: �Flores para el Soldado� (Mexico)

7 p.m.: �Finding Lenny� (South Africa)

Tuesday, Jan. 12
4 p.m. doc: �Tijuaneados An�nimos� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Nesio� (Mexico)

Wednesday, Jan. 13
4 p.m. doc: �El Viaje del Cometa� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Sweet Karma� (Canada)

Thursday, Jan. 14
4 p.m. feature: Talk on �Conozca la Cabeza de Juan Perez� (Mexico) by actor Silverio Palacios

7 p.m. feature: �Conozca la Cabeza de Juan Perez� (Mexico)

Friday, Jan. 15
4 p.m. doc: �Siete Instantes� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Espiral� (Mexico)

Saturday, Jan. 16
4 p.m. doc: �Abrir Aulas para Cerrar Celdas� (Mexico)

7 p.m. feature: �Intimidades� (Mexico)

source: http://www.whatsuppub.com/showArticle.asp?articleId=8455

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Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 8:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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