November 1, 2014

Vermont International Film Festival opens Friday

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A still from ‘The Act of Killing,’ a ground-breaking documentary focusing on the leaders of the Indonesian death squads, collectively responsible for millions of deaths. (Observer courtesy photo).

A still from ‘The Act of Killing,’ a ground-breaking documentary focusing on the leaders of the Indonesian death squads, collectively responsible for millions of deaths. (Observer courtesy photo).

Observer staff report

October 10, 2013

Film reels will start rolling in Burlington Friday with the beginning of the 28th annual Vermont International Film Festival—10 days of films, events and presentations held Oct. 11 – 20. VTIFF will present 37 feature-length films and more than 40 short films at several Burlington locations.

Most screenings are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children and students. Ticket information and a full schedule of screenings and events are available at www.vtiff.org.

Festival organizers provided a series of highlights for this year’s festival.

Festival Kickoff Event

VTIFF and Special Olympics Vermont have partnered to screen the HBO documentary “The Crash Reel” Lucy Walker’s award winning film about Vermont snowboarder Kevin Pearce—on Oct. 11 at the Main Street Landing Film House as the opening night film at this year’s festival. All proceeds from the event will benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Vermont. A reception with Vermont snowboarder Kevin Pearce  and his brother David, a Special Olympics Vermont athlete, will be held prior to the film’s screening.

“The Crash Reel” chronicles the epic rise of elite Vermont snowboarder Kevin Pearce, his devastating and life-changing crash and journey to rediscover himself and find purpose and meaning in the wake of a lost dream. Tickets for “The Crash Reel” are $25, benefitting Special Olympics Vermont. The reception, at the Lakeside Lobby on the third floor of Main Street Landing is set to begin at 5 p.m., followed by the film screening at 6 p.m.

‘The Crash Reel,’ about Vermont snowboarder Kevin Pearce, kicks off the 2013 Vermont International Film Festival.  (Observer courtesy photo)

‘The Crash Reel,’ about Vermont snowboarder Kevin Pearce, kicks off the 2013 Vermont International Film Festival. (Observer courtesy photo)

Film: ‘The Act of Killing’

This ground-breaking documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and produced by filmmaking legends Errol Morris and Werner Herzog promises that you’ve never seen anything like it. Oppenheimer interviews the leaders of Indonesian death squads, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of millions of Communists, leftists and ethnic Chinese in 1965 and 1966. But he doesn’t just interview them. As the ambiguous title of the film suggests, he lets them reenact their crimes and even invites them to write, perform and film skits dramatizing their murders in the style of American movies they love. This film is about the power of moviemaking and storytelling, sometimes cathartic, sometimes destructive and always illuminating. And, incredibly, you may also find yourself laughing sometimes. “The Act of Killing” screens twice at the festival—Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Main Street Landing and Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. at ECHO. Director Joshua Oppenheimer will answer questions at the Oct. 17 screening via Skype.

Film and Event Highlight: ‘Brothers Hypnotic’

On Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Main Street Landing Film House, Director Reuben Atlas’s “Brothers Hypnotic” profiles the eight brothers in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who are all sons of anti-establishment jazz legend, Phil Cohran. Raised together on Chicago’s South Side on a diet of jazz, funk and Black Consciousness, the brothers play in the streets of New York City, collaborate with Mos Def or wow people at jazz festivals. The screening will be followed by a gala party at 8:45 p.m. and live performance by the Hypnotic Ensemble at Signal Kitchen on Main Street. Ticket for screening includes free access to the party and live concert.

A still from 'Brothers Hypnotic,' which profiles the eight brother in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. (Observer courtesy photo).

A still from ‘Brothers Hypnotic,’ which profiles the eight brother in the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. (Observer courtesy photo).

Special Event: Symposium: Lost, Found AND Remixed

The festival is enriched through the inclusion of workshops, lectures and panel discussions with experts in their respective fields. This year, the focus is on all things archival, with a special emphasis on restoration, accessibility, usage and ethics. Keynote speaker Rick Prelinger of Prelinger Archives and archive.org will speak, along with Adrian Wood, archival consultant to the International Olympic Committee and film researcher extraordinaire. Wood will bring a new restoration of “White Rock,” the 1976 winter Olympics film. A panel discussion with screening of clips, geared toward filmmakers as well as the general public, will look at many aspects of repurposing footage for new uses. Symposium includes: Alice Apley, executive director of documentary educational resources; filmmaker Caroline Martel, an internationally renowned award-winning documentary artist (“Phantom Of The Operator,” “Wavemakers”); Sandra Forman, one of the foremost entertainment lawyers (“Eyes on the Prize”) Rick Prelinger and Adrian Wood.

Filmmaker Highlight: Vermont Filmmakers Showcase

The Vermont Filmmakers Showcase brings 15 films this year to The Main Street Landing Film House, presented by the filmmakers. These films showcase a diverse and talented group of local filmmakers, and demonstrate the passion and dedication that is present in Vermont for filmmaking. Films will be selected for various awards: The James Goldstone Award; the Ben & Jerry’s Award; the Footage Farm USA Award; VCAM Audience Favorite Award; and VTIFF Awards for Best Film, Best Screenwriting and Best Acting. Each film screens for free. Donations are accepted for VTIFF.

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