Indie Watch


The 15th Annual Jewish Film Festival is back in January with a slate that includes 25 films, two live concerts, guest speakers and a night of live comedy. Some highlights include Isn't This a Time! A Tribute Concert for Harold Leventhal (with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and others, followed by a sing-along hosted by Ted Warmbrand) on Jan. 11; Kosher gospel with the film Keep on Walking: Joshua Nelson, the Jewish Gospel Singer and a performance by Nelson on Jan. 18; and short films and live comedy with Monolog Cabin on Jan. 15. The festival runs from Jan. 11-22, with additional films shown on Feb. 19 and March 11. Venues include the Jewish Community Center (3800 E. River Road), UA's Gallagher Theater, the Loft Cinema and the Fox Theatre. Festival passes are $75, and most screenings are $7. For a full schedule of events, details and descriptions of all the films, check, or call or e-mail festival director Susan Silverman at 299-3000, ext. 106;


Prolific roving independent filmmaker Bill Daniel is returning to Tucson to screen his film on hobo graffiti, Who Is Bozo Texino? Sixteen years in the making, Who Is Bozo Texino? follows Daniel as he rides freight trains and hangs out in hobo camps, all the time looking for the legendary graffiti artist Bozo Texino. Shot hand-held in remarkable black and white, Daniel's film is a uniquely intimate portrait of an almost-invisible American underworld. Also appearing is Chris Sand, aka Sandman, a singer/songwriter of country, rap and protest songs (and combinations of) from Olympia, Wash. It happens Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Red Room in The Grill, 100 E. Congress St. Check and for additional info.


Tucson's Pan Left Productions is presenting a screening of a new documentary by J.M. Aragón, PRESENTE: Inside the Migrant Trail Walk on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Screening Room (127 E. Congress St). Featuring a score by renowned Puerto Rican folk artist José Saavedra, Inside documents the seven-day, 75-mile walk between Sasabe, Sonora and Tucson to raise awareness of the life-threatening hardships faced by migrants crossing the border. The screening is at 7:30 p.m. Check for more information.


The Hanson Film Institute at UA is sponsoring an Art of Pitching Workshop over two weekends, Feb. 18 and 25-26. Applications must by submitted by Jan. 27 to be considered. The workshop was created to sharpen the skills needed to pitch a project to industry professionals. The workshop will be led by Lorna Soroko, a writer and industry professional who has produced projects for HBO, Fox and Showtime. Contact Vicky Westover from the Hanson Film Institute at 626-9825, or for application details.


Tucson's Independent Film Association of Southern Arizona (IFASA) is sponsoring an acting workshop on Sunday, Feb. 12. The workshop is taught by Elayne Stein, a widely respected commercial acting instructor. The class is limited to 35 participants, on a first-come, first-serve registration basis. Contact IFASA President Brian Mulligan at 349-8249 or e-mail at for details. The next monthly IFASA meeting will be Monday, Jan. 9, at Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway Blvd. Meeting time is 6 p.m.; for further information, e-mail Mulligan.


Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry and co-screenwriter Diana Ossana will be on hand for the opening-night screening of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain on Friday, Jan. 13. They will introduce the film and take questions afterward. Showtime is 7 p.m., and tickets are $15 for Tucson Film Society members and $20 general admission.

Congressman Jim Kolbe will be at the Loft on Friday, Jan. 20, to introduce a sneak preview of the new film The World's Fastest Indian. Shot in New Zealand, The World's Fastest Indian stars Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, who set a speed record on an Indian motorcycle in 1967 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Black cinema scholar Pearl Bowser will be at the Loft on Sunday, Jan. 22, to introduce and lead a discussion after a screening of Oscar Micheaux's 1919 classic Within Our Gates. Micheaux wrote, directed and produced 40 independent features between 1919 and 1948; Within Our Gates, from 1919, was his second film, and is the oldest surviving feature film by an African-American filmmaker. There will be live piano accompaniment for the screening. Within Our Gates is co-presented by the Hanson Film Institute and the Loft. Showtime is noon; tickets are $8 general admission, $5 for students and $4.50 for TFS members.


The Loft is starting a new series called Tuesday Talks; each week will feature a screening followed by discussion, with a guest speaker or another moderator. All five films in January have some sort of a social, political or militaristic focus. Screenings include the 2005 Mexican film Innocent Voices on Jan. 3; Occupation: Dreamland (shot with the 82nd Airborne in Iraq) on Jan. 10; The Goebbels Experiment (with dialogue by Kenneth Branagh) Jan. 17; The War Within (about a Pakistani student-turned-terrorist who travels to the United States) Jan. 24; and the award winning documentary La Sierra, shot in Medellin, Columbia, on Jan. 31. All shows start at 7 p.m.; $8 general admission, $5 for students and $4.50 for TFS members


Cartoonist Max Cannon ("Red Meat") is back as the host of the renamed First Friday Shorts Open Screen Night on Friday, Jan. 6 at The Loft. Check for submission details; winners (chosen by the audience) get $100. Showtime is 9 p.m., and admission is $5.

Finally, the January Videoke has been postponed; it will return in February.

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