Westerns, thrillers, sci-fi, documentaries and dramas from 17 countries will be screened at the Weyauwega International Film Festival, slated for Nov. 8-11, at the Gerold Opera House.
Sponsored by Wega Arts, the festival also includes independent films with Wisconsin ties and some North American premieres.
The film festival opens at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, with "Seconds," a 1966 psychological thriller with elements of science-fiction. Directed by John Frankenhiemer, who is best known for the original "Manchurian Candidate," and starring Rock Hudson. "Seconds" tells the story of a middle-aged man who is given an opportunity to start his life over. The results are terrifying.
Dr. Jack Rhodes will introduce the film with some comments.
"I think it’s a good analysis of what we view as happiness," said Kathy Fehl, who organized the film festival with her partner, Ian Teal.
When asked to discuss their own favorite flicks at the festival, Fehl and Teal began the conversation with "Holy Motors," a surreal film by French director Leos Carax.
It follows a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys through Paris in a limo, while shifting from one life to the next.
He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster and family man.
"Holy Motors" was first screened in July at the Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews.
"It’s opening in the U.S. in New York, Los Angeles and Weyauwega," Teal said. "I think it’s one of those movies that the critics either love it or hate it."
"Holy Motors" is scheduled for 9 p.m. Thursday and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Teal said the film is not intended for children under age 16.
Directed by Olympia Stone, "The Cardboard Bernini" examines the life and work of artist James Grashow as he spends four years building a giant cardboard fountain inspired by the 17th-century Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
While Bernini’s marble fountains may still be seen in Rome as monuments to baroque art, Grashow made his work with the intention that it would dissolve in the rain outside the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Readfield, Conn.
"The artist is as fascinated with destruction as he is with construction," Teal said.
"The Cardboard Bernini" is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Written and directed by Dan Sallitt, "The Unspeakable Act" premiered in June in New York and has been screened at film festivals in Edinburgh, Prague and Vienna.
Fehl described the film as "an observation of family dynamics from the point of view of the central character, who’s in love with her older brother."
"It’s not gratuitous or graphic," Teal said, regarding the film’s unusual subject matter. "There’s one scene of implied sex with her boyfriend."
"The Unspeakable Act" is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Another film that focuses on family dynamics is "Extraordinarily Ordinary."
In this 59-minute documentary, filmmaker Timo Elliott goes back to his small hometown in rural Michigan and interviews his family members about their experiences.
"It’s a straight-forward look at growing up in America in the 1960s," Teal said. "The family is unique. There were no divorces, both grandparents lived on the same block."
"Extraordinarily Ordinary" will screen at 4 p.m. Thursday.
There are several films with Wisconsin roots.
Dan Davies, the Waupaca native who wrote and starred in "Ed Gein: The Musical," leads the cast in "West of Thunder."
Directed by Steve Russell and Jody Marriott Bar-Lev, "West of Thunder" is set nine years after the Wounded Knee massacre at a small town near the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
"It’s a dramatic revenge story that is beautifully shot," Fehl said.
"West of Thunder" will show at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Directed by Adam Bartlett and John Pata, "Dead Weight" is set in post-apocalyptic Wisconsin and offers a unique take on the zombie genre.
Another film with Wisconsin ties will be "Filthy Theater," a documentary about the life and work of playwright and director Joel Gersmann, founder of the Broom Street Theater in Madison.
Among the foreign films is "Sal," directed by Diego Rougier
"Sal" is about an Argentinean director who wants to make a spaghetti western and goes to the desert of Chile in search of a story for his screenplay.
"The director becomes his own story," Teal said.
"Sal" will screen at 9 p.m. Friday.
"Fambul Tok" is a documentary made in Sierra Leone that will show at 7 p.m. Sunday.
"Families were pitted against families in a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone," Fehl said. "Before the civil war, there was a tradition of ‘fambul tok’ or family talk. The director found people who had wrongs committed against them and people who had committed wrongs and brought them together to talk to each other. It is very moving."
"Fambul Tok" is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday.
Filmed in India, Kenya, Zambia, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti and the U.S., "Greening the Revolution" looks at the impact of the global economy on agriculture, the food supply and starvation.
"The director, Katie Curran, visits farmers to see how bioengineering relates to economies around the world," Fehl said. "It’s a very provocative movie."
"Greening the Revolution will show at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
A pass to the entire four-day festival is $20 in advance or $25 at the theater door, A day pass is available for $9 at the door.
Tickets are available online at http://wegaarts.org/ and at the Coffee Klatsch in Weyauwega and the Book Cellar in Waupaca.
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