The very successful, 11th Annual CineVegas Film Festival was held June 10 through the 15th, 2009 at the Palms Casino Resort and Brenden Theatres in Las Vegas. The CineVegas Film Festival is an extraordinary stage for artists and art lovers who are drawn to the edge of filmmaking. Held amidst the unique, thrilling, abundantly exciting environment of Las Vegas, the CineVegas Film Festival pushes the limits of cinema. The Festival never fails to present works by ground-breaking, uninhibited, candid, and rebel-esque artists to an audience of local and national film lovers, journalists, and film industry representatives. The festival is presented by Robin Greenspun, the festival’s President, Trevor Groth, the Artistic Director, and Dennis Hopper, the Chairman of the Creative Advisory Board.
CINEVEGAS 2009 RED CARPET AND EVENTS:
The festival was kicked off on June 10th by a grand opening night. The first film to premier was, “SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS”. The Screening took place at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, CHI Theater. What an exciting and eventful carpet it was too.
Celebs WALKING THE CARPET were:
Sarah Silverman, Romany Malco, Jesse Garcia; Festival executives Dennis Hopper (Chairman of the Creative Advisory Board), Robin Greenspun (President), Danny Greenspun, Trevor Groth (Artistic Director), Dirk Arthur, Johnny Brenden, Nathan Burton, Carrot Top, Clifton Collins, Jr., Vinnie Favorito, Holly Madison, Frank Marino, Gerry McCambridge, Alicia Taylor, Miss Nevada USA Georgina Vaughan, Earl Turner, Lani Misalucha from VOICES, Erich Bergen, Jeff Leibow, Deven May from JERSEY BOYS, and others.
Jump-starting this year’s festival was the world premiere of Hue Rhodes’ “Saint John of Las Vegas”. The film stars Steve Buscemi as an ex-gambler who has gone straight and takes a job at an Albuquerque insurance company. He begins an amorous relationship with smiley face-obsessed co-worker, Jill (Silverman), on the day that he gets promoted to fraud Investigator and must return to Las Vegas to investigate an insurance fraud case. The film was unique, original, with quite a good storyline. I found this to be an out of the box gambling flick. This was an unusual part for Buscemi. I mean when Steve plays the normal guy, you know this is a distinctive film. I extend major kudos to SARAH SILVERMAN, for her acting stretch in this film.
Silverman said she enjoyed working with Buscemi. “He’s … a real, actor’s actor kind of guy,” she said. “He hung out after dinner and he was really silly”.
Many of the VIPs mixed and mingled with other members of the CineVegas crowd after the screening at the official after-party and opening night soirée at Privé.
Films also premiering on Thurs with carpets… June 11:
Anna Bak-Kvapil; Director Alex Ross Perry; Producer Designer Sean Williams
ACTING FOR THE CAMERA
Director Justin Nowell; Producer Todd Barnes
Susan Ziegler; Director Madeleine Olnek; Line Producers Robert Chang and Laura Terruso
Peggy Pope, Eleonore Hendricks, Paul Ben Victor, Susanne DiDonna, Gabe Fazio and Rock Kohli; Director Lev Gorn
Director Duncan Jones (David Bowe’s son)
I personally cannot express what a brilliant film this was by first time director Duncan Jones. What vision he had to take a chance on this very fascinating film starring Sam Rockwell. The story is about Sam Bell, (Sam Rockwell) who’s approaching the end of his three-year contract to mine the power source Helium-3 on the moon. He’s lived and worked alone on a lunar base there, with only the computer Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey) keeping him company. Now, just as he’s preparing for a return home to his wife and daughter on Earth, Bell begins to fall apart, physically and emotionally. I don’t want to give more than that away. Run to see this film when it comes out. It will keep you glued to your seat from the beginning to the end. This film definitely needs a bucket of popcorn
VEGAS: BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Walt Turner; Director Amir Naderi
BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO
Director Jessica Oreck
Director James Rasin
Lucy Adden, Toben Seymour, Mark Aaron, Kathan Fors; Director Asiel Norton
An amazing film by first time director Saiel Norton, The story tells about a family on the edge of starvation that struggles for survival in Depression-era rural America. While the passionately spiritual patriarch of the family tries in vain to provide for his family, his daughter goes to great limits to hide an affair from him. As their way of life crumbles and they run out of money and food, the family’s moral integrity intensifies. One hope they have could be the beautiful forest that surrounds the family’s homestead, which provides a storybook backdrop into which the family hopes it can escape. Yet their situation isn’t nearly that melodious as this struggle is of man vs. nature. Can the family be reborn? Go and find out for yourself. I suggest a package of red vines for your film snacks.
Claire van der Boom
ALL IN: THE POKER MOVIE
Annie Duke, Jamie Gold, Phil Hellmuth, Tom McEvoy, James McManus, Jeffery Pollack (President and Commissioner of the World Series of Poker), Joe Reitman, Amarillo Slim; Director Douglas Tirola; Additional Celebrity Poker Stars TBA
“All In”, Tells the story of poker while focusing on why one of our nation’s oldest games has had a renaissance in the past decade and why, for so many people, poker is a way to chase the American Dream. Quite entertaining…. For your film snacks I suggest you go all in and have popcorn, candy, and a soda!
Alexandra Meierhans, Ivan Martin, Michael Godere, Aidan Redmond; Director: David Barker; Actor Sam Rockwell
Director Ben Steinbauer
Michael Jai White, Jimmy Walker, Jr.; Director Scott Sanders
Chris Wylde, David Anders, Louisse, Griffiths, Jacy King, Director Kerry Prior
Films premiering with carpets on JUNE 12TH
EASIER WITH PRACTICE
The stars that walked the carpet before the films premier were, Brian Geraghty and Kel O’Neil; Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Ivan Martin, Michael Godere, and Jeremy Renner
IT CAME FROM KUSHAR
Before the film premier: George and Mike Kuchar and Director Jennifer Kroot walked the red carpet with great pride and excitement.
500 DAYS OF SUMMER
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Director Marc Webb, along with the films writers walked the carpet at their films premier June 12th. I have to say, Joseph is hot! This is a Great film. I suggest you have 500 pieces of your favorite candy to snack on while watching.
HARMONY AND ME Kristen Tucker, Nick Offerman; Director Robert Byington. With total stubbornness, and embracing his own unhappiness at the end of a recent break-up, loquacious young songwriter Harmony’s self-imposed exile into misery serves as a source of irritation and frustration to his headstrong mother, and a curious source of amusement to his odd, eccentric friends.
SEA OF DARKNESS Director Michael Oblowitz
PATRIOTVILLE Nick Offerman; Director Talmage Cooley
ETIENNE! Richard Vallejos, Megan Harvey, Molly Livingston, Courtney Halverson, Matt Garron, Rinalda Caduff, Kenley Gaffke, Share Bond, Jeremiah Turner, David Chien; Director Jeff Mizushima
STINGRAY SAM Director Cory McAbee
PREIMIERS AND CARPETS SAT. JUNE 13TH
ASYLUM SEEKERS Judith Hawkings, Pepper Binkley and Daniel Irizarry; Director Rania Ajami
THOR AT THE BUS STOP Directors Jerry and Mike Thompson
GODSPEED Joseph Mckelheer, Cory Knauf, Courtney Halverson, Jessie Ward and Ed Lauter; Director Robert Saitzyk
YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN Director Mitch McCabe
HUMPDAY Joshua Leonard, Mark Duplass, Josh Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton, Trina Willard
Scott Caan, Wendy Glenn, Alexie Gilmore, James Caan, John Boyd; Director: Patrick Hoelck, Erika Christiansen, Whitney Able, director Patrick Hoelck
John is a novelist who writes about love…even though he’s never been in love. In fact, he’s pretty sure that love doesn’t exist. Yet that doesn’t keep him from leading a seemingly fulfilling bachelor’s lifestyle and honing his seduction skills to an art form. That’s until he meets Mercy. A critic who writes a scathing review of his latest book, Mercy sees through John’s “teetering on charming” exterior and into his shallow, egotistical core. In spite of these circumstances, or perhaps because of them, he asks her out. She says yes. Miraculously, their relationship blossoms into something very real and John begins to open up to love and life. Yet, in doing so, he exposes himself to the potential perils that come with the “L” word.
Maybe I am just a sucker for romance, but I thought this was a sweet, old fashioned love story. If you let yourself go, and try not to figure the storyline out, you can easily get lost in this film. As always, James Caan was fabulous and believable in his role playing opposite his son. I throw some major kudos to Scott Caan, for writing and starring in this lovely film. Good luck with the film Scott!
Randy Russell, Danny Trejo, Michael Sottile, Barry Poltermann, Nikki Johnson; Director Frankie Latina
PREIMIERS AND CARPETS Sun, June 14
WHERE DA GIRLS AT: CINEVEGAS CLUBHOUSE
Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas ; Dennis Hopper (Chairman of the Creative Advisory Board); Johnny Brenden, Erich Bergen and Jeff Leibow from JERSEY BOYS
Honorees Jon Voight, Willem Dafoe, George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago; Festival executives Dennis Hopper Trevor Groth, Johnny Brenden, , Maria Menounos, Tony Hawk and Tony Sorensen. It was quite a thrill meeting JON VOIGHT AND WILLEM DAFOE (Very hot!) as well as all these amazing film veterans.
WORLD’S GREATEST DAD
Director Bobcat Goldthwait
For better or worse, Lance Clayton (Robin Williams) is about to find out if all tragedy comes laced with comedy. For every dream the frustrated writer has, reality kicks him in the pants. Lance wants to be a novelist. In the meantime, he teaches a high school poetry class. He’d like to be a stable family man, but he’s a single dad whose (obnoxious) teenage son Kyle (Daryl Sabara, in a tour-de-force performance) is a total jerk unable to keep his angry mouth and hormones in check. Then, as fate would have it, tragedy occurs and just like that, Kyle is the most popular kid on earth. Lance’s world is dramatically changed in spectacular fashion. However, he may have to be an insensitive jerk in order to take advantage.
World’s Greatest Dad is quite a different role for Robin Williams. Not a film you might normally see him in, but Robin, the brilliant actor, shines throughout the film. It is ironic after the death of David Carradine, how this story copies a real life situation and terrible tragedy. Director, Bobcat pulled off a stellar directing performance in this film. I think, ‘World Greatest Dad’ is a very important and timely film. I don’t recommend it however for younger children…
On Mon, June 15 there were several events….
BRENDEN CELEBRITY STAR PRESENTATION
Brenden Celebrity Star recipient Robin Leach; Brenden Theatres President & CEO Johnny Brenden; Palms Casino Resort President & CEO George Maloof; CineVegas Artistic Director Trevor Groth
Dennis Hopper; Director Wim Wenders
UNLV STUDENT SHORTS
7:00pm Carpet / 8:00pm Screening
Brenden Theatres UNLV Student Filmmakers
CSN STUDENT SHORTS
7:30pm Carpet / 8:30pm Screening
Confirmed talent: CSN Student Filmmakers
CINEVEGAS jury award WINNERS FOR 11th ANNUAL FESTIVAL
Easier with Practice Receives Grand Jury Prize
Godspeed and Etienne! Receive Special Jury Awards
All In: The Poker Movie Awarded Documentary Jury Award Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo Wins Special Documentary Jury Award
The Revenant receives Dramatic Audience Award and
Documentary Audience Award awarded to Winnebago Man
Jon Voight, Willem Dafoe, George and Mike Kuchar, Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago were also honored.
(Festival winners included Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s Easier with Practice, which received the Grand Jury Prize; Godspeed was acknowledged with an Exceptional Artistic Achievement Award for Cory Knauf, Joseph McKelheer and Robert Saitzyk; and Jeff Mizushima with the Filmmaker to Watch Award for his film Etienne!)
All in all, 2009 was another exciting, spectacular CineVegas event and achievement. Furthermore, it appeared to have been pulled off flawlessly and without a hitch. I want to extend a big thank you to Kelly Frey for all her help in making this article possible.
For more information on the CineVegas Film Festival, please call 888-8VEGAS8 or visit www.cinevegas.com.