Organizers of Fresno’s Swede Fest have opened submissions for the fourteenth edition of the low- or no-budget parody film festival, taking place 5 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Tower Theatre.
The announcement comes just in time for Halloween, which means you may have your costuming done. That’s two birds with one stone.
For consideration in the festival, films must be no longer than four minutes and suitable for all ages and entered by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 17.
Swede Fest, is an internationally known festival loosely based on Michael Gondry’s 2008 film “Be Kind Rewind,” and spawned several satellite festivals on the East Coast. A “sweded” film is a summarized recreation of a popular movie. It takes the best (and often the worst) of Hollywood and combines it with the creativity and ingenuity of the biggest film fans. The results can be epic, as in the case of Dumb Drum’s series of scene-for-scene movie-trailer recreations.
There’s still a lot more to go of the 25th year of Reel Pride, Fresno’s gay and lesbian film festival. (It opened Wednesday.) A full slate of films continues at two venues through Sunday. In today’s 7 section, Rick Bentley and I reviewed a couple of the films playing this weekend — and for me, my experience was golden. I highly recommend “Lilting,” which plays 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre. I give the film an “A” grade:
This riveting, defiantly quiet gem of a film is a highlight of the festival. Director Hong Khaou, in his self-assured feature-film debut, spins a spare tale set in London of a grieving Cambodian-Chinese mother living in a retirement home who is thrust into an unlikely and tenuous relationship with her son’s equally grieving English lover.
Weaving together themes of coming out, cross-cultural sparring and guilt over aging parents, Khaou crafts a determinedly intimate tone both in terms of visuals and storytelling — but he also has a minimalist streak. (We never learn the occupations of the son and his lover, for example.) Richard (played by Ben Whishaw in a hunched, bracing and sensitive performance), is determined after his partner’s death to forge a connection with the strong-willed June (the veteran Chinese actress Cheng Pei-pei, a potent cinematic force), who doesn’t speak English.
High school filmmakers and cinema buffs, take note! The Fresno Bee has partnered with the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) and are proud to announce:
THE SCOOPYS: The Fresno Bee Student Film Festival.
Fresno County high school students are invited to showcase their cinematic talents by entering their original videos in our festival. Not only will entrants be able to compete in 5 categories for 10 different awards; not only will every qualified entry be showcased at the festival and displayed on the Tower Theatre’s silver screen on May 3; BUT in addition, each qualified entry will be aired on television! This is an incredible opportunity for young filmmakers to see their work in two major formats.
CREATE an original video in any of the following categories.
• Animated Short (2 minute max)
• Documentary (5 minute max)
• Music Video (3 minute max)
• Drama (5 minute max)
• Comedy (5 minute max)
ATTEND the festival on May 3 at the prestigious Tower Theatre, where all entries will come to life on the big screen.
AWARDS will be given to winning films, casts and crews in the following categories:
• Best Drama
• Best Comedy
• Best Music Video
• Best Animated Short
• Best Documentary
• Best Performance
• Best Editing
• Best Director
• Best Ensemble
• Best In Show
Know a high school student who would be interested? Share this link — which has all the festival details — to help them get started on their path to cinematic fame and fortune.
2. Tower Beer Run
This is not a real race, although some with attack it as such no doubt. Get a $1 race bib and partake in $1 beer samples from two dozen Tower District establishments. 3. Sarah Chang
The Fresno Philharmonic turns 60. Violinist Sarah Chang help celebrate with a show that includes the Bruch Violin Concerto, which she first performed at her audition for the Juilliard School. She was five.
4. Catch up on Oscar nominees
With the Academy Awards around the corner, the local movie houses are full of Oscar-nominated films including “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” Bet you didn’t see that coming.
5. Fresno Partnership City Council Candidate Forum
Before you roll you eyes and say “boooooring,” keep in mind that life isn’t all fun and games. This is specifically for candidates in districts 1 and 7, but it’ll be good primer for anyone interested in local politics
As a sixth (and the event I will for sure be at) there is this.
Here’s this week’s 7 picks for 7 days, a list of things to do Today (Jan. 17) through Thursday (Jan. 23). This week’s choices includes celebrated musical theater, high-flying actions sports, beer tasting and live music.
I’m getting back on track with the 7 picks for 7 days feature, a list of fun things to do over the next week. This week’s version — picks for today through next Thursday — offer a variety of entertainment, from acclaimed movies to new TV shows, theater and music.
My week didn’t exactly turn out as expected. Like so many other people, I was felled mid-week by one of those stupid viruses cavorting around our city– and my work flow was thrown off. I didn’t have the chance to write a local review of an amazingly beautiful film titled, appropriately enough, “The Great Beauty,” which screens tonight only. I’ll leave it my esteemed colleague Kenneth Turan, writing in the Los Angeles Times — and whose review we picked up in today’s 7 section — who describes the film thus:
One of Italy’s most impressive contemporary filmmakers, director Paolo Sorrentino has a superb sense of how to fill a wide screen and, working with his longtime cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, a wizard with camera movement, his visuals display the intoxicating richness of color 35-millimeter film in a way few contemporary ventures can match.
For me, I was tremendously moved by those visuals. (Rome seems to flow into us, and it preens and aches as a big, slightly sad, but still fiercely triumphant, space.) The emotional content of the film is just as striking. In the midst of plenty, we have a knack for wanting what we intuitively sense is missing from our lives.
This a a big weekend for lovers of independent/artsy films. Fresno Filmworks, the Fresno Jewish Film Series and the megaplexes all have offerings. Spike Jonze’ newest seems wacky cool and is getting raves from peopleI trust. So …
Audie Paron does his annual birthday-bash music fest. The three days of local (and locally loved) music starts at 6 p.m. tonight.
1.) Indie authors night
A grass-roots mini-book conference at Peeve’s Public House on the Fulton Mall. For self-published authors and/or local book fans, the event will have readings, signings and general literary-business discussions. Musician Glen Delpit (himself a huge book fan) will perform.
2.) Winter Dance Party
For fans of ’50s rock and roll. Or the movie “La Bamba.” The Winter Dance Party was the tour that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were on where they were killed in a plane crash in 1959 (and the music died). This Winter Dance Party, which plays tomorrow night at Visalia Fox Theatre, is a tribute to all three artists and features a Broadway star, a Vegas star and the Big Bopper’s son.
3.) Narco Cultura
If you watched “Breaking Bad,” you’ll be hip to narco cultura, the pop-culture phenomenon where the Mexican drug cartels are seen as anti-heroes. It’s a very real thing and it’s documented in this film, which opens today Manchester Stadium 16. Thanks to Roque Rodriguez for the head’s up.
OK, so after taking off a couple weeks, I’m back with a new round of 7 picks for 7 days – a list of fun thing to do each day Friday, Nov. 15 through Thursday, Nov. 21. This week’s picks include a hot country band live at the Save Mart Center, a touring Broadway musical at Saroyan Theatre and this month’s silent movie at the Warnors Theatre.
UPDATE: Winners of the “Son of Rambow” tickets are Kaila and Ron. Thank you to all you responded.
ORIGINAL POST:Fresno Filmworks will present the 2008 British coming-of-age drama “Son of Rambow” at 3 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Tower Theatre. I will be giving away two (2) pair of tickets through a random drawing of anyone who sends a comment about local films to this post. You have until 4 p.m. Nov. 6 to post a comment.
The film from director Garth Jennings tells the story of a young boy named who lives in a strict religious community. After discovering a pirated copy of “Rambo: First Blood,” the boy teams up with his school’s bully to re-create stunts and action sequences from the movie.
The screening leads up to the 12th edition of the Swede Fest that starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the festival is free.
If you don’t win one of the pairs of tickets, advance tickets for “Son of Rambow” cost $5 general admission, and they can be purchased by check or cash at the Tower Theatre box office, 815 E. Olive Ave. Go online to FresnoFilmworks.org for tickets and details.
Winners can pick up the tickets at the will call table in front of the Tower Theatre before the screening.
The Germ film festival is a catalyst for local filmmakers. It’s a reason to create, the little push that could move them from talking about a project to actually getting it done. It lays out a set of criteria (a germ) that the filmmakers can interpret however they see fit.
For instance, the inspiration could be a song (“Tables and Chairs” by Andrew Bird) or photograph (“Near Greenwood, Mississippi” by William Eggleston) or a word (summer). Maybe the film has to be shot on a camera phone, or include at least for characters or a line of dialog in a foreign language. From there, it’s up to the filmmaker.
Since its inception last January, the festival has screened 75 short films and had more than 1,100 different directors, producers, writers, actors and attendees either create work or attend the screenings. That includes me.
October is full of things to do, including these 7 picks for Oct. 17-23. From a silent film at the historic downtown Warnors Theatre to Fresno State Football, a beer festival and a big-time rock concert, these are some of the best bets for your entertainment.
Ted Neeley, who played the title role in the 1973 film “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and who came to Fresno several times in the live stage version of the show, will be on hand for Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. screening of the movie at the Tower Theatre. Neeley is so firmly associated with the role — which he played into his late 60s on stage — that he’s sort of become the AARP version of the architect of Christianity, along the lines of “What Would Jesus Look Like on Social Security?” Also at the screening: Barry Dennen, who played Pontius Pilate.
Both will participate in a Q&A discussion before the screening and a “meet and greet” with the audience afterward. Tickets to the event are $15.
I’m giving away two pairs of tickets to Beehive readers. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite song from “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Deadline is 10 a.m. Thursday. One comment per person, please. I’ll be informing winners at 10 a.m. via email, so check yours around that time. If you’re a winner, you’ll be able to pick your tickets up at Will Call. Rules are on the jump.
It’s hard to imagine a more glorious place to see a silent movie than the Warnors Theatre. A new season series kicks off tonight with a screening of the Charlie Chaplin 1925 classic “The Gold Rush.” In a story in today’s Life section, Rick Bentley tells us what to expect. The program will include local silent film expert Nate Butler as emcee, and local film educator John Moses will present a brief history about the movie.
You’ll get to hear music and sound effects from the theater’s historic Morgan organ, purchased almost a century ago.
All this for a ticket price that seems ancient in itself: just $3. Sounds like a great way to spend an evening.
Here’s the rest of the series schedule:
“The Phantom of the Opera” (1925), Oct. 17.
“Hot Water” (1924), Nov. 21.
“Big Business” (1929), Dec. 19.
“The General” (1926), “The Iron Mule” (1925) and “The Great Train Robbery” (1912), Jan. 16.
“Pollyanna” (1920), “What Drink Did” (1909) and “The Narrow Road” (1912), Feb. 20.
“Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World” (1925), “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) and “The Impossible Voyage” (1904), March 7.
Tonight’s opening festivities for the 24th Fresno Reel Pride Festivities include an appearance by the area’s own Michael Willett, star of opening night film “GBF.” Willett is a veteran of productions with Good Company Players and Clovis West High School. The Bee’s Rick Bentley talked to Willett for a story in today’s Life section.
I love this photo of Willett with Emily Pessano in the 2007 GCP production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
UPDATE, Sept. 9: Today, Entertainment Weekly posted an update on the J.J. Abrams mystery trailer revealing that it’s for a new book. Here’s a bit of the book description from EW:
S.is basically about the relationship between a grad student named Eric and a college senior named Jennifer. They trade notes in the margins of a (fictional) 1949 novel by a mysterious author named V.M. Straka. S.contains the novel within the novel;
And here is the second half of the trailer, which includes a look at the book cover:
Fresno Filmworks has built an audience by filling the void created by the city’s cineplex monopoly. The group screens first-run films (both international and American, both feature and documentary) that would otherwise get delegated to the Netflix cue (or Amazon Prime, I suppose). The films tend toward the unconventional (for those with blockbuster tastes) and the venue is no multiplex.
Like, you can order a scotch in the lobby. And drink it. In the theater.
For June, Filmworks is pushing even those boundaries some, with its first ever double feature. That’s two different independent films in one night. The award-winning independent comedy “Gimme The Loot,” will screen at 5:30 p.m., followed by the campy B-movie throwback “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X,” at 8 p.m.
As a bonus, “Johnny X” director Paul Bunnell, star Will Keenan, costume designer Kristina West and executive producer Mark Willoughby will be on hand after the screening to talk about the film.
As a double bonus, there will be an after-party at The Voice Shop. Admission is free with a ticket stub from either program. There will be music, snacks and a cash bar.
Filmworks has generously offered us tickets to give away to our readers. To enter, simple leave a comment below telling us what’s the best movie you’ve seen Filmworks present (I particularly liked “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”). The contest will close at noon, June 13. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email.
We will give out one pair of tickets to each show, so be sure to tell us which you’d like to see.
You can read more about eachfilm over at the Filmwork’s Film Forum blog. Check out the film trailers (and the full contest rules) below.