21st James River Film Festival: Program Guide

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21st James River Film Festival: As the Palaces Burn!

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• Sunday, April 13, 2014, 8 pm
• Visual Arts Center, 1812 W Main St, Richmond, Va, 23220, 804-353-0094
• Admission $5

As the Palaces Burn! (dir: Argott, 2014, 120 min)  What begins as a 2012 concert tour document of RVA-based metal-men Lamb of God takes a weird turn when singer Randy Blythe is arrested for manslaughter in the Czech Republic. The charge dates from a 2010 gig when a fan fell from the stage, and the outcome of the case can determine the band’s future. Suddenly Argott’s film finds its heart and essential story-line as it follows Blythe’s subsequent legal difficulties and his courageous decision to return to Czech for trial.

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - As The Palaces Burn ! at the James River Film Festival 2014

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21st James River Film Festival: INDEPENDENT CLASSIC! Come Back, Africa

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• Sunday, April 13, 2014, 6 pm
• Visual Arts Center, 1812 W Main St, Richmond, Va, 23220, 804-353-0094
• Admission $5

Come Back, Africa, (dir: Rogosin, ’59, 95 min), restored by Milestone Film and Video.  “A heroic film…a film of terrible beauty.”—Martin Scorsese.  One of the few films to emerge from sub-Saharan Africa at that time,  American independent director Lionel Rogosin’s (On the Bowery) docufiction is a searing look at life under apartheid. Secretly filmed in Johannesburg and Gauteng, South Africa, it follows the plight of Zachariah, a Zulu who seeks better paying work in the gold mines, but is denied because of the restrictive “pass laws”. As he and his wife sink further, we feel first their anger and finally, their hopelessness.  Jonas Mekas (JRFF guest in 2002) described Rogosin’s film as: “The sound of the beating of the consciousness of a waking Africa”.

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - The James River Film Festival presents Come Back , Africa

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21st James River Film Festival: As I Lay Dying w/actor Coby Batty

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• Sunday, April 13, 2014, 3:30 pm
• Byrd Theatre, 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA, 23221, 804-353-9911
• Admission $5

Overlooked as one of the finer releases of the year, actor/director James Franco’s adaptation of William Faulkner employs split-screen and direct address to capture the novel’s multi-perspective,  Mississippi locations and fine acting to capture its voice.  Furious and imperfect,  As I Lay Dying (dir: Franco, 2013, 107 min) exhibits some of the raw stubborness of its characters, and independent cinema in general, in its uncompromising narrative approach.  Actor Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?) shines as the head of the Bundren clan, on a cursed odyssey to bury his wife in a family plot, but there are fine performances all around—Richmond actor/musician Coby Batty, who plays farmer Gillespie, will be present for a Q & A regarding the film’s production.  NY Times: “Mr. Franco has accomplished something serious and worthwhile, (his film) is certainly ambitious, but it is also admirably modest.”

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - James River Film Festival presents As I Lay Dying with actor Coby Batty

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21st James River Film Festival: Wavemakers (following the Legacy of the Ondes Martenot)

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• Sunday, April 13, 2014, 1:30 pm
• Byrd Theatre, 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA, 23221, 804-353-9911
• Admission $5

Wavemakers (following the Legacy of the Ondes Martenot) (dir: Martel, 2012, 96 min) w/ filmmaker Caroline Martel.  Want to know the Kevin Bacon connection from Edith Piaf to Radiohead?  Two words: the Ondes Martenot. Never heard of it?  If  you’ve seen Lawrence of Arabia you heard it in the musical score.  Guest Caroline Martel screens her documentary on the history of this relatively unkown but incredibly influential electronic musical instrument of the 1920s and beyond.  Travelling between the Old and New Worlds, Martel interviews and investigates martenot connoiseurs—musicians, composers, instrument makers—who are unique in their devotion and love for this sensitive, electronic “missing link” in musical instrument history.

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - The James River Film Festival presents Wavemakers : Ondes Martenot

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21st James River Film Festival: Pre-festival screening!

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• Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 7:30 pm
• Studio 23, 1617 W Main St, Richmond, Va, 23220
• Venue change: Black Iris Gallery, 321 W Broad St Richmond, Va, 23220, 804-620-7321
• Admission: FREE

Studio 23 Film Series and James River Film Society present a Pre-festival screening!

Surrealistic Silent Shorts, (1906-23, 105 min) a selection of silent comic shorts 1906-1923.  Kinetic, chaotic, primitive, physical—America’s gift to comedy and the kind of stuff the Surrealists loved!  On 16mm with the sound of humming projectors.

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21st James River Film Festival: Pre-festival screening!

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• Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 7:30 pm
• Studio 23, 1617 W Main St, Richmond, Va, 23220
• Venue change: Black Iris Gallery, 321 W Broad St Richmond, Va, 23220, 804-620-7321
• Admission: FREE

Studio 23 Film Series and James River Film Society present a Pre-festival screening!

Orpheus, (Cocteau, ’50, 94 min, French w/ subtitles) perhaps playwright/filmmaker Jean Cocteau’s finest film achievement, an updated version of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth set in post-WWII Paris.  When popular poet Orpheus (Jean Marais) suffers writer’s block, he falls under the spell of mysterious radio messages and a seductive agent  from the underworld, and then must enter the Zone to retrieve his beloved Eurydice. The Surrealists cited their debt to Cocteau, and he was further revered by many for his lovely version of Beauty and the Beast (’46). On 16 mm projected film—old school!

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21st James River Film Festival: SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE! w/ guests Caroline Martel and Michael Almereyda

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Phantom of the Operator

• Saturday, April 12, 2014, 7:30 pm
• VCU Grace St Theatre, 934 W Grace St, Richmond, Va 23220, 804-828-2020
• Admission $5

Festival guest & VCU Department of Photography & Film artist-in-residence Caroline Martel screens Phantom of the Operator (2004, 66 min), her social history of the telephone operator—those anonymous voices behind the rise of the telecommunications industry. Finding no “verite” footage of the era, she re-constructs their story via montage—using industrial, training and promotional clips from a time when Ma Bell worried if there were enough girls out there to (wo)man their switchboards as they expanded operations.

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - Caroline Martel : The Phantom of the Operator

Short Works by Michael Almereyda

• Saturday, April 12, 2014, 9 pm
• VCU Grace St Theatre, 934 W Grace St, Richmond, Va 23220, 804-828-2020
• Admission $5

Short, experimental works by guest filmmaker Michael Almereyda including Skinningrove, The Man Who Came Out Only at Night and Another Girl, Another Planet.

Co-sponsored by Department of Photography and Film and Department of Art History, VCU

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - The Short Works of Michael Almereyda at The James River Film Festival

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21st James River Film Festival: Hamlet

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• Saturday, April 12, 2014, 3 pm
• Byrd Theatre, 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA, 23221, 804-353-9911
• Admission $5

Hamlet  (dir: Almereyda, 2000, 107 min) with director Michael Almereyda (co-sponsored by Department of Photography and Film, VCU)

Festival guest Michael Almereyda screens his adaptation of Hamlet— contemporarily set and scored, structurally abridged to fit the post-modern expectation—starring Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Liev Schrieber, Julia Stiles, Sam Shepard. The director brings an experimental touch to Shakespeare’s tale of madness, mayhem and revenge by transposing Denmark’s spiritual wasteland to the sleek dens of corporate elitism. The cool-toned cinematography is remarkable as are the performances of Stiles, Schrieber and Hawkes. Especially memorable is Hamlet’s everyman soliloquy delivered as he peruses the shelves of a video store—putting us in the aisles, if not the shoes, of familiarity. An art-house favorite released by indie studio Miramax; RollingStone called it, “A knockout! You will be dazzled!”

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - James River Film Festival presents Hamlet with Director Michael Almereyda

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21st James River Film Festival: 2 x Davenport: Ashpet & Where Do They All Go?

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• Saturday, April 12, 2014, 12:30 pm
• Byrd Theatre, 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA, 23221, 804-353-9911
• Admission $5

With guest filmmaker Tom Davenport

Virginia filmmaker and festival guest Tom Davenport has been making fiction and nonfiction since the ‘70s, and will screen a title of each from his extensive filmography.  First, his award-winning Ashpet (1990/ 2013, approx. 45 min), which reposits Cinderella, the world’s most popular folk-tale, in Tennessee during WWII.

Although Ashpet is a servant, she’s beautiful, resourceful and deserving of happiness—which she finds at the local Victory Dance.  Followed by the recent Where Do They All Go? (1990/ 2013, approx. 45 min) which chronicles the life and work of Upperville, VA native Jerry Payne, who as a teenager asked, “Animals die all the time. Where do they all go?” A high school classmate of the filmmaker,  Payne would later become a world famous entomologist and forensic science pioneer.

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - 2 X Davenport at The James River Film Festival

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21st James River Film Festival: William Eggleston in the Real World

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• Saturday, April 12, 2014, 10:30 am
• Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Leslie Cheek Theatre, 200 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220
• Admission $8/ VMFA, JRFS members $5 or vmfa.museum

With guest director Michael Almereyda  (co-sponsored by Department of Photography and Film, VCU)

Festival guest Michael Almereyda screens William Eggleston in the Real World (dir: Almereyda, 2005, 84 min), a strikingly intimate and engaging portrait of American photographer William Eggleston.  Considered one of the most important color photographers, the Memphis-based Eggleston tends to capture the mundane and the non-photogenic—garage interiors, suburban inhabitants, empty landscapes—in his on-going “war with the obvious”.  His 1976 show at MOMA was championed by curator John Szarkowski, but encountered the wrath of photographer icon Ansel Adams. One vengeful critic called it “the most hated show of the year.”  Yet Eggleston not only persevered but has been astoundingly productive—“taking one picture of one picture” at a time.  The NY Times  called the film:  “Fascinating…speaks for itself in roughly the same mysterious way an Eggleston photograph does.”

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21st James River Film Festival: Available

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• Saturday, April 12, 2014, 10:30 am
• Byrd Theatre, 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA, 23221, 804-353-9911
• Admission $5

Richmond-based director, Michael Gibrall, will screen his recent first feature, Available (dir: Gibrall, 2013, 76 min).  A charming and sometimes goofy romantic comedy which succeeds by virtue of its screwball plot premise, witty dialogue and some surprising acting in the major roles.  A Richmond premiere!

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - The James River Film Festival presents Available

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21st James River Film Festival: Midnight Frights presents The Undertaker and His Pals

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• Friday, April 11, 2014, Midnight
• Byrd Theatre, 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA, 23221, 804-353-9911
• Admission $5

Midnight Frights presents The Undertaker and His Pals (dir: Swicegood, 1966, 75 min)Eric Miller and Will Towles, those ghastly producers from WCVE-TV, screen another campy monster movie! This time it’s in Richmond’s only documented haunted movie theatre…our beloved Byrd. Filmed in blood-curdling color, The Undertaker… is a British-take on Sweeney Todd and stars Ray Dannis and the great Marty Friedman. Production of the public-TV Ch. 23 series dates to 2012, and has employed the local talents of Joey Tran, Shawn Hambright, Dan Nelson and Armistead Spotswood, with shooting at the Byrd and Poe Museum. Special guests TBA!

Tickets available at the door or the Eventbrite link below.

Eventbrite - Midnight Frights presents The Undertaker and His Pals

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21st James River Film Festival: The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show

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• Friday, April 11, 2014, 6:30 pm
• Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Leslie Cheek Theatre, 200 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220, 804-340-1405
• Admission $8/ VMFA, JRFS members $5 or vmfa.museum

The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show (dir: Maglaras, 2013, 90 min), with guest director  Michael Maglaras and guest producer Terri Templeton.  In 1913 thousands of Americans poured through the doors of the unassuming 69th Regiment Armory in search of all the hubbub.  Few realized they’d entered the Modern Era of art.  Exposure to works by Europeans Cezanne, Renoir, Van Gogh and Duchamp (who’d submitted his “Nude Descending a Staircase”) and Americans Marsden Hartley, John Marin and Charles Sheeler would illuminate and baffle, changing the way they saw the world, and how they perceived themselves in it.  A behind-the-scenes look at how this seminal show came about and the footprint it left; with over 60 artworks.  A Virginia premiere!

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21st James River Film Festival: INDEPENDENT CLASSIC: Salt of the Earth

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• Friday, April 11, Noon
• Richmond Public Library, Main Branch, 101 E Franklin St, Richmond, Va, 23220, 804-646-4256
• Admission: FREE

Salt of the Earth (dir: Biberman, ’54, 85 min), an independent classic made by blacklisted Hollywooders at the height of the Red scare—once banned, but now assessed as ahead of its time for its portrayal of labor, racial and women’s issues.  Based on a strike at a zinc mine in New Mexico, the production hired the real-life miners as actors and told their story with a realism Hollywood couldn’t duplicate.  Designated by the Library of Congress as one of America’s great film achievements.

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