This marks the debut of a new monthly column, Indie Watch. Indie Watch will appear on the last Thursday of each month. Its goal: to provide a look ahead at what's happening in the upcoming month, as well as general information about what's happening in the world of independent film in Tucson. It will serve several purposes: detailing upcoming appearances by visiting filmmakers, screenwriters, etc.; a look ahead at local film festivals; general news about what's happening with local filmmakers, actors, etc.; giving a heads-up for casting and crew calls; and previewing what's happening at the local independent cinemas around Tucson.
The term "indie" should be taken to cover both the screening and making of films; we may list or otherwise mention films and filmmakers that are not literally independent, but the screenings will generally be outside of the mega-plexes. Indie Watch will be news oriented-although a bit of opinion is bound to surface.
The biggest event in April is the 14th Annual Arizona International Film Festival. The AIFF runs April 14-24, with screenings mainly concentrated at the Screening Room (127 E. Congress St.), the Loft (3233 E. Speedway Blvd.) and the Crossroads (4811 E. Grant Road), although films will also be shown on other screens around Tucson. This year's festival is slated to feature more than 120 films from more than 20 countries, including feature-length films, shorts, documentaries, animation and the hard to classify. In addition to the Premiere Showcase, festival programs include Cine Chicano, Cinema Without Borders, Bridging Cultures, the Reel Frontier, Movies at Midnight, Festival-in-the-Schools and the Arizona Independent Film Award. Many filmmakers will be on hand to present and speak about their work, from the United States, Canada, Spain and El Salvador. Films will also be screened from Bulgaria, Peru, Ecuador, Australia and Iran. There are various receptions, parties and breakfasts hosted by local organizations and businesses. Advance festival passes run from $40 to $150, and are available at the Festival Production Office (108 E. Congress St.), at Reader's Oasis (3400 E. Speedway Blvd.); tickets for individual films are sold at shows. Call 628-1737 for more details or check www.azmac.org.
The Loft is hosting a number of visiting filmmakers in April: Richard Elfman (see James DiGiovanna's interview with him at the start of this week's Cinema section), Kirby Dick, Clive Holden and Ellen Spiro with Karen Bernstein. Elfman (brother of ace film scorer Danny Elfman and a fellow member of Oingo Boingo) will be on hand on Friday, April 1, to debut a new Late Night series with Forbidden Zone. Several events on April 2 and 3 have been slated around Kirby Dick, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 for his film A Twist of Fate. He will be on hand to present noontime screenings of two films, Chain Camera (from 2001) and Derrida (2002), a portrait of the recently deceased French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Various pre and post-screening events are scheduled. Filmmaker/poet Clive Holden will present a U.S. premiere of his film Trains of Winnipego, 14 Film Poems at 3:00 p.m. on April 17. Ellen Spiro and Karen Bernstein visit the Loft on April 27 at 7 p.m. with their new film, Troop 1500: Girl Scouts Beyond Bars. Troop 1500 is a documentary about a Girl Scout program that brings young girls into prisons to meet with their inmate mothers. The Loft's new weekly Late Night series will run on Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m. (except the last Friday of each month, when they move to midnight) and include-in addition to Forbidden Zone-The Shining, Blue Velvet, A Clockwork Orange and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Finally, starting on April 29, on the last Friday of each month, the Loft will be hosting a contest for local filmmakers. All submissions must be under 10 minutes in length and available on DVD, VHS or mini-DV tape. There is a $100 prize handed out each month, with a yearly prize package that includes a trip to the CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas, and more. Call 795-7777 for showtimes or 322-5638 for further details; check www.loftcinema.com for details.
Tucson filmmaker Pearry Reginald Teo's film Take Me Somewhere Nice won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film at the Sedona International Film Festival in early March. This is the first time that an Arizona filmmaker has won the award in the 11-year history of the festival. The festival's executive director called it "the most amazing and touching film you will ever see." It starred local actors Clint James, Cole Braxton and Shanna Brock. Teo is considering options for a screening here in Tucson soon.
The Independent Filmmakers Association of Southern Arizona meets on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at Access Tucson (124 E. Broadway Blvd.). The IFASA's mission includes to "encourage, build and support a strong local independent film community, and to promote the production, exhibition and public awareness of film, digital video and media arts." Call IFASA president Brian Mulligan at 349-8249 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is available at www.aivftucson.org.
April sees the final spring screenings by the International Arts Film Series at UA. Featured films are the Danish film De Fem Benspaend (The Five Obstructions), Stanley Kubrik's Barry Lyndon, the Mexican film El Bruto (The Brute) and the French film Confidences Trop Intimes (Intimate Strangers). All screenings are free, and start at 7:30 p.m. Fridays at the Integrated Learning Center on the UA campus, Room 120.