We're trying really hard here in Philadelphia to make this city relevant within the film world again.
The film scene in Philadelphia, both in terms of production and presentation is best described as a pack of lone rabid dogs fighting over a rotten steak that fell out of a supply truck on route to New York.
We've lost all of our great art house theaters. All of the venues for strong repertory film programming have moved out to the burbs and cater explicitly to the tastes of yuppie wasp socialites.
The mammoth sized Philadelphia International Film Festival died 4 years ago with all of the involved parties separating.
The once great and mighty M. Night Shamalayn has become an international laughing stock. Our tax incentives for film production have been decreasing and sure to be completely lost this budget season now that we have a staunch Republican in office. Most films shot here only use Philly as a cheap double for New York. Ironically, programs and films set in Philly are are in turn shot in Canada and L.A.
Apart from a few exceptions (the indie semi hit, The New Year being one of them), film lovers and film makers have had little to be excited about here in the city of brotherly love.
But the announcement for the 2011 Cinefest has made me proud to be a Philadelphian again. This is a damn fine start to building something worthy here.
My only complaint is that I had nothing to do with this.
Artistic director, Josh Goldbloom has taken a cue from his experiences in Austin and has fastened a festival that would have been well suited for The Alamo Drafthouse.
A paraphrased copy of the official press release is posted below, and I recommend anyone in the Philly region to check out the website for the full schedule.
Troll Hunter, Stakeland, The Ward, Legend of the Fist, Cold Fish, The Woman.
There's a lot to love here.
I'll be posting more in the coming weeks as I know there are some even cooler special events planned not listed below.
Boasting a wide-ranging slate of documentaries, features and shorts guaranteed to appeal to film-lovers. The Philadelphia Cinema Alliance is excited to announce the full film lineup for CineFest 2011 - running Thursday, April 7 - Thursday, April 14 - along with opening night highlights, special award recognition to famed horror film director John Carpenter and the reintroduction of Action Asia.
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. Rohal will introduce the film and participate in a question and answer period after the premiere with cast members Steve Little, Robert Longstreet and producer Megan Griffiths.
"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. Rosenthal will introduce his film and participate in an entertaining question and answer period after the premiere.
CineFest will also 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.
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 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 , Tony Jaa! 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 Asian styled marketplace.