Texas is known for some great film festivals. apart from SXSW and Fantastic Fest, both held in Austin – Houston also hosts some wonderful events. Among them is the Cinema Arts Festival. This year’s line-up is extremely strong, with titles that include Pina, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, The Artist and the World Premiere of Art Car: The Movie. Sadly we do not have any contributors over in Houston, but I did feel the need to quickly promote the festival. Here is the press release.
HOUSTON – Now in its third year, Cinema Arts Festival Houston, which runs from November 9 to 13, 2011 will bring an ambitious program of films by and about artists to the vibrant Texas city known internationally for its dynamic art scene. From painting and dance to classical music and multimedia work, this edition will also include appearances by directors, actors, musicians, and special tributes to Ethan Hawke and documentary master Patricio Guzman.
“Our festival is an unusual hybrid of arts fair and film festival, with theatrical films supplemented by live performances and media installations. We try to involve as many of Houston’s amazing arts organizations and as many art forms as we possibly can,” said artistic director Richard Herskowitz.
Below is an overview of the 2011 Cinema Arts Festival Houston.
A Tribute to Ethan Hawke
Austin-native Ethan Hawke will receive the Levantine Cinema Arts Award from the CAFH, honoring his multi-faceted career in the arts. He will present his latest film, Pawel Pawlikowski’s THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH at the Museum of Fine Arts’ Brown Auditorium on Saturday, November 12 at 7pm, which will be followed by a conversation with film critic and teacher Joe Leydon. The following day, Ethan Hawke will join director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Slacker) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their 2001 collaboration TAPE with a screening at the Edwards Greenway Grand Palace at 1pm on November 13.
Ralph Fiennes makes his directorial debut with CORIOLANUS, a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy starring Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave.
David Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD, based on Christopher Hampton’s play, stars Michael Fassbender as psychologist Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen as his mentor Sigmund Freud, and Kiera Knightley as “Sabina S,” a troubled but beautiful woman who comes between them.
THE ARTIST is director Michel Hazanavicius’ playful love letter to the movies’ early days and is a variation on an A Star Is Born-like relationship between a dashing Douglas Fairbanks-style star (Jean Dujardin) and a dazzling young actress (Berenice Bejo).
The first 3D film to be presented in CAFH, PINA features the unique and inspiring art of the great German choreographer Pina Bausch, who passed away in 2009. Wim Wenders takes the viewer straight onto the stage with the legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble.
In his intimate and richly textured documentary, CRAZY HORSE, acclaimed filmmaker Frederick Wiseman explores one of the most mythic and colorful places in Paris, Le Crazy Horse, a legendary cabaret club founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin.
Opening Night: DOWNTOWN EXPRESS and Phillippe Quint
The Cinema Arts Festival Houston will open with the regional premiere of David Grubin’s DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, which stars the brilliant Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint as Russian immigrant Sasha, who clashes at Juilliard with the experimental and raucous music of Ramona, played by singer-songwriter Nellie McKay. Quint will kick off one of the many live performances in this year’s CAFH during this event.
Closing Night: World Premiere of ART CAR: THE MOVIE
Directed by former journalist, Ford Gunter, and Carlton Ahrens, this new documentary follows a handful of local artists as they prepare their entries for 2010 Houston Art Car Parade and Grand Marshall Dan Akyroyd. With over 300,000 spectators, this international event is considered the granddaddy of art car celebrations. Presented on Sunday, Nov. 13 at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park.
30th Anniversary Screening of KOYAANISQATSI with Godfrey Reggio
On the eve of its thirtieth anniversary, the visually and aurally mesmerizing 1982 KOYAANISQATSI will be presented by director Godfrey Reggio in a brand new 35mm print, along with a sneak peek at scenes from his latest collaboration with Philip Glass, THE HOLY SEE.
UPSTREAM with Donald Sosin Ensemble & Joanna Seaton
The Donald Sosin Ensemble, featuring vocalist Joanna Seaton, will perform live – joined by student players from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music – to accompany the recently rediscovered silent classic, UPSTREAM (1927). John Ford’s backstage comedy-drama focuses on an egotistical actor and a young couple who partner with him in a vaudeville knife-throwing act. Considered lost, he film was discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive in 2009.
International Directors: Patricio Guzmán, Zhu Wen, and Mahmoud Kaabour
The festival, in collaboration with Rice Cinema, will bring the great Chilean director Patricio Guzmán (Nostalgia for the Light, Battle of Chile) to Houston. In “Patricio Guzmán’s Universe: Reflections on Art, Science, Religion and History,” Guzmán will launch a five-part retrospective highlighting the wide-ranging intellectual explorations of his work and engage in dialogues with scholars in literature, religion, and astronomy. The series’ first three screenings as part of CAFH are on Nov. 10, 11, and 12 and at Rice Cinema Nov. 18 and 19.
Zhu Wen, a native of the Fujian Province in China, made his directorial debut with the 2001 Venice Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Seafood. Wen’s culture-clash, pseudo science-fiction comedy, THOMAS MAO, will be featured at the festival on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Edwards Cinema. Wen, a well-known writer, is also a leader of the rebellious “Rupture” (Duanlie) writers’ movement whose short story collection, I Love Dollars, was translated and published in the U.S. by Columbia University Press in 2007.
Mahmoud Kaabour’s GRANDMA, A THOUSAND TIMES, which won two awards at the 2010 Doha Tribeca Film Festival, is a poignant, magical realist documentary that follows the 83-year old matriarch of the Kaabour family – a sharp-witted queen bee of an old Beiruti quarter and the widow of a Lebanese violinist. Kaabour (Being Osama), jointly hosted by the festival and Levantine Entertainment, will accompany the film on Friday, Nov. 11.
“Cinema on the Verge”: Braden King, Miwa Matreyek, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Trimpin, and Lech Majewski
Filmmaker, video artist and documentarian Braden King will present his new feature film, HERE, as well as a live hybrid film-concert HERE [THE STORY SLEEPS] at Talento Bilingue de Houston. HERE], starring Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal, premiered at the 2011 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals and will be distributed by Strand Releasing in early 2012. A live, multi-screen deconstruction of the feature, HERE [THE STORY SLEEPS is comprised of outtakes and other media from HERE accompanied by King’s long-term musical collaborators, the Boxhead Ensemble. Houston’s acclaimed art space DiverseWorks’ Flickerlounge will run an exhibition throughout November of King’s music videos and short films, including collaborations with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the Dirty Three.
Los Angeles-based Miwa Matreyek is an internationally recognized animator, designer, and multimedia artist whose work explores how animation transforms when it is combined with body and space (and vice-versa). Matreyek will present several of her animated films, including GRATER CITY and MACHINE as well as a multi-screen installation, PANORAMA CITY, in the Talento Bilingue de Houston (TBH) Gallery. She will also present two performances: her latest, Myth and Infrastructure, and her installation/performance piece, Dreaming of Lucid Living, which was a sensation at the 2010 TED global conference.
Award-winning artist and director Lynn Hershman Leeson will present !Women Art Revolution, an entertaining and revelatory “secret history” of feminist art, as well as display her RAW/WAR installation alongside her screening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as part of the museum’s Artful Thursday series November 10. Feminist art critic and University of Houston professor Jenni Sorkin will interview Leeson at the event.
Audio installation artist Trimpin will present two of his miraculous musical instruments, Laptop Percussion Sextet and Mini-Klompen, and will be joined by director Peter Esmonde for a presentation of TRIMPIN: THE SOUND OF INVENTION.
Finally, CAFH”s “Cinema on the Verge” will present the latest film by Polish artist Lech Majewski, THE MILL AND THE CROSS, along with his media installation, BRUEGEL SUITE. Both were inspired by Flemish master, Peter Bruegel’s epic painting, “The Procession to Calvary” (1564). THE MILL AND THE CROSS makes use of traditional and contemporary film technologies, bringing the canvas to life and featuring Rutger Hauer as Pieter Bruegel, Sir Michael York as his patron, and the mesmerizingly beautiful Charlotte Rampling as the Virgin Mary. In BRUEGEL SUITE, which was recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Majewski uses video sequences inspired by Bruegel’s masterpiece.
Other home-grown Lone Star standouts will include shorts, narratives and documentaries in the largest selection of Texas films yet to screen at the CAFH. ART CAR; Robbie Pickering’s SXSW hit, NATURAL SELECTION; and Nathan Christ’s ECHOTONE, which will feature a live performance by Austin musician Dana Falconberry, headline six Texas-based programs.
Global Cinema of the Arts
OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW by Sophie Fiennes is a portrait of the great German artist Anselm Kiefer at work.
Following their emotional exile from Cuba in 1965, three architects return forty years later to finish what was considered the world’s most spectacular and futuristic art school in Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray’s documentary UNFINISHED SPACES.
Set in Paris, FLOWERS OF EVIL is Swedish director David Dusa’s timely feature debut. The film introduces us to the apolitical Gecko, a talented French-Algerian parkour dancer promoting himself via YouTube, and Anahita, an exiled Iranian girl who is obsessed with staying on top of the protests in her homeland via the web.
FREE RADICALS: A HISTORY OF EXPERIMENTAL FILM is a personal documentary essay by France-based/American born director Pip Chodorov, who will visit Houston for this screening. The film examines the lives and work of such experimental luminaries as Hans Richter, Michael Snow, and Stan Brakhage. Chodorov will also be presenting a selection of experimental 16mm films from France titled L’ABOMINABLE, named after the endangered artist-run film lab in Paris.
Other films in the festival lineup are THE WELCOME, about a poetry workshop for war veterans, to be shown on Veterans Day and accompanied by producer Bill McMillan and war veteran/poet Mandy Martin; WISH ME AWAY on country star Chely Wright’s coming out to her fans; SHAKESPEARE HIGH, about an annual high school performance competition; and EAMES: THE ARCHITECT AND THE PAINTER, a portrait of America’s great design team, Charles and Ray Eames.
The 2011 festival is scheduled to take place in Houston from November 9 to 13. Cinema Arts Festival Houston capitalizes on the city’s status as an international art city, collaborating with many of Houston’s museums, art centers, theaters, and cultural institutions. Works are shown not only in traditional theatrical venues but also via interactive video installations, live music and film performances, and outdoor projections. Past festivals have featured guests Isabella Rossellini, Tilda Swinton, John Turturro, Alex Gibney, and Shirley MacLaine. The 2010 festival drew thousands of film enthusiasts and art lovers spread among over 40 screenings and events.
ABOUT HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY (HCAS)
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008. With the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane, HCAS organized and hosted the 2009 and 2010 Cinema Arts Festival Houston, a groundbreaking and innovative film and multimedia arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing, and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS is funded in part by the Crane Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Arts Alliance through the City of Houston, Houston Film Commission and Texas Film Commission. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org <ht