FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2012 HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCES ITS SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS, INCLUDING OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS
BY WOMEN DIRECTORS
National feature-length films and Texas films announced at launch event
HOUSTON – The 2012 Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF) announced today its impressive line-up of Special Presentations, including opening and closing night screenings presented by directors Liz Garbus and Lisa Immordino Vreeland. The presentations of Garbus’ LOVE, MARILYN and Vreeland’s DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL build on the program’s previously announced 2012 emphasis on women directors, which includes a 40th anniversary tribute to the media arts organization, Women Make Movies. Six other Special Presentations were announced at the festival’s 2012 Launch Event on October 23rd at Hotel Icon in Downtown Houston, plus five festival programs highlighting work by Texas filmmakers. The unveiling of these titles is the culmination of five weeks of festival program announcements, including the Levantine Cinema Arts Award presentation to Robert Redford, the U.S. premiere of The Light Surgeons’ “live cinema” performance of SUPEREVERYTHING*, and over 25 films on the visual, performing, and literary arts.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, LOVE, MARILYN employs recently unearthed letters and diaries, along with newly released outtakes, home movies, and photos that document her private life against the backdrop of her very public life and loves. The film will screen on the festival’s Opening Night, Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), preceded by a red carpet and followed by an opening night party in the Museum foyer. Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Lindsay Lohan, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood each appear on screen to enact Marilyn’s words. Male actors perform the observations of men she fascinated, including Truman Capote (Adrien Brody), Elia Kazan (Jeremy Piven), and Norman Mailer (Ben Foster). Garbus weaves these performances together to create a revelatory portrait of an American icon we all think we know.
Garbus has a storied career, co-directing The Farm: Angola, USA in 1998, which was nominated for an Academy Award. THE FARMwas awarded with prizes including the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and two Emmy awards. In 2002, Garbus’ film The Execution of Wanda Jean was also shown at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2005, Garbus collaborated with partner Rory Kennedy to Executive-Produce the Academy Award-nominated Street Fight. Garbus’ other documentaries include Girlhood (2003) and Bobby Fischer Against the World(2011). FISCHER opened the Premiere Documentary Section of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, reserved for master American documentary filmmakers. In addition, in January 2011 Garbus was nominated for her second Academy Award, for her filmKilling in the Name, which she again produced with Kennedy.
On the festival’s Closing Night, Sunday, Nov. 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Lisa Immordino Vreeland will present the Houston premiere of her acclaimed documentary on her grandmother-in-law, DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL. A Q&A session with the director will be moderated by Bayou City style icon, Lynn Wyatt. THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of one of the most influential women of the twentieth century, an enduring icon who has had a strong influence on the course of fashion, beauty, publishing and culture. During Diana Vreeland’s fifty-year reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis, and established countless trends that have withstood the test of time. She was the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar where she worked for twenty-five years before becoming editor-in-chief of Vogue, followed by a remarkable stint at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, where she helped popularize its historical collections.
DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL, part of a greater project that includes an exhibition and a book of the same name, is the first feature film for Lisa Vreeland. Her background in the fashion world includes serving as Public Relations Director for Polo Ralph Lauren in Italy, launching Fabrizio Ferri’s sportswear line, Industria, as well as Pratica, a sportswear line for women, and Mago, a knitwear collection of her own designs.
“These two films are illuminating portraits of powerful women icons of our time,” said Richard Herskowitz, artistic director of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival. “They are made by two exceptional women directors whom we’re proud to be hosting on our Opening and Closing nights. Women may be woefully under-represented in commercial feature filmmaking, but they won’t be at our festival this year.”
In addition to LOVE, MARILYN and THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL, several other features will screen at the 2012 Houston Cinema Arts Festival as Houston premieres. These include the following Special Presentations:
STAND UP GUYS with guest director Fisher Stevens
Hilarious and featuring exceptional performances from Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, and Julianna Margulies, Stand Up Guys, tells the story of two old con artists reuniting for one last hurrah. As an actor, Fisher Stevens has appeared in over 40 stage productions and over 60 film and television programs. He co-founded GreeneStreetFilms in 1996, and produced over 15 films including the Academy Award nominated film In The Bedroom and A Prairie Home Companion. The Cove, which Stevens produced about the dolphin slaughter in Japan, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Additionally, Stephens co-directed the documentary Crazy Lovethat won the 2006 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
In David O. Russell’s latest film, Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, suffers a meltdown and starts over with the help of an attractive yet very strange neighbor, played by Jennifer Lawrence. Already being hailed for multiple Oscar-worthy performances, the film won the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
Two-time Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera for the first time with this charming and humorous film centering on a retirement home for opera singers and musicians. Hoffman has the help of a stellar and lively cast including Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins.
A combination of comedy, heart and romance with an unbeatable soul music soundtrack, cheered by festival audiences in Cannes and Toronto, The Sapphires follows a quartet of young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission who are plucked from obscurity and branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes. Bridesmaids actor Chris O’Dowd, as their manager, delivers a tour de force comic performance that is at once incredibly funny, likeable and genuine.
A LATE QUARTET
An amazing ensemble of actors – Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Mark Ivanir – brings vivid life to Yaron Zilberman’s drama about a world-renowned string quartet whose 25th anniversary unleashes a tidal wave of repressed feelings and resentments.
Paying homage to legendary casting director Marion Dougherty, Casting By puts the spotlight on an unsung creative force in feature filmmaking — the casting director — revealing the key role this figure has played in the last half century of Hollywood history. The film marshals powerful evidence, through film clips and interviews with a stunning array of movie actors, including Robert Redford, Al Pacino, Glenn Close, and Robert Duvall, who give loving testimony to Dougherty’s unprecedented impact on the New Hollywood.
In addition to the upcoming theatrical releases above, the festival unveiled its annual selection of the best new films on the arts by Texas directors. Highlights include TRASH DANCE, winner of the Audience Awards at both the Silverdocs and Full Frame Film Festival and, fresh from its premiere at the Austin Film Festival, Don Swaynos’ PICTURES OF SUPERHEROES. Houston filmmaker Hanly Banks will show her Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film, while the Austin film BIG BOY will be accompanied by director Thomas Hackett and actress Dawnica Martin. Rounding out the Texas programming is the return of the Houston Film Commission’s TEXAS FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE, which includes the year’s best short films by Houston, San Antonio, and other Texas artists.
Director Andrew Garrison, choreographer Allison Orr, and crane operator Don Anderson will accompany the screening of TRASH DANCE, which was shot in Austin and shadows choreographer Allison Orr as she creates an unforgettable performance piece with garbage trucks and the men and women who pick up trash in Texas’ capitol city. Garrison’s repertoire includes the documentary feature Third Ward TX (2007) and the narrative triptych The Wilgus Stories(2000), both of which premiered at SXSW and aired on PBS. The Austin Critics Table named Allison Orr Best Choreographer in 2003 and in 2008.
PICTURES OF SUPERHEROES
Pictures of Superheroes is the debut feature comedy by Austin-based filmmaker Don Swaynos. Marie (Kerri Lendo) is hired as a maid by businessman Eric (Shannon McCormick), who also asks her to pretend to be his wife to impress his clients. While cleaning Eric’s home, Marie becomes close to Joe (John Merriman), an aspiring superhero artist who also lives in Eric’s house, although unbeknownst to Eric. Swaynos and Merriman will accompany the screening.
APOCALYPSE: A BILL CALLAHAN TOUR FILM
A collection of live performances and a glimpse of the road from Bill Callahan’s American leg of the 2011 Apocalypse tour, Hanly Banks’ experimental documentary captures mesmerizing performances by the elusive and magnetic Callahan along with evocative images of the contemporary American landscape. Director Hanly Banks, who grew up in Houston, will participate in a Q&A session immediately following the screening.
Winner of First Prize at the Athens International Film Festival, Thomas Hackett’s Austin production Big Boytells the sometimes funny, sometimes painful story of what happens to a family and to lifelong friendships when a divorced mother joins her son’s struggling rock band.
The film features music by talented local Austin singer/songwriter Hilary York, whose style sets the tone of the film. Director Hackett and actress Dawnica Martin will accompany the screening.
TEXAS FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE
Each year, this collection of the best Texas short films and videos, organized by the Houston Film Commission, is presented to executives in the Hollywood film community, with subsequent screenings around Texas. The selection committee is a cross-section of film industry professionals from outside the state of Texas. Films included for 2012 include Cinnamon (15:02 min.) by Timothy Edwards from Austin; Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise (7:31 min.) by Kelly Sears of Galveston; The Order of Things (13:02 min.) by Chris Spisak from Houston; and The Whale (13:30 min.) by Jaime Chapin from Denton.
In all, the 2012 Houston Cinema Arts Festival – which runs from Nov. 7 – 11, 2012 – will include over 50 film programs and panels, in addition to an expanded CINEMA ON THE VERGE section of interactive media installations.
Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a major program of Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS), capitalizes on the city’s status as an international art city, collaborating with many of Houston’s museums, art centers, theaters, and cultural institutions. Works are shown not only in traditional theatrical venues but also via interactive video installations, live music and film performances, and outdoor projections. Past festivals have featured guests such as Isabella Rossellini, Tilda Swinton, John Turturro, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Alex Gibney, and Shirley MacLaine. The 2011 festival drew tens of thousands of film enthusiasts and art lovers spread among over 40 screenings and events.
The 2012 event marks the debut of HCAF as a “walkable” film festival, centering on venues in Downtown Houston and the Museum District and featuring partners within easy access of the Metro Rail Red Line. HCAF 2012 unveiled its complete program on Oct. 23, 2012 at Hotel ICON, located at 220 Main Street in Downtown Houston. The full program, passes for single and multiple days as well as individual tickets are available on the HCAS website at http://cinemartsociety.org.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane. HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS sponsors include the Crane Foundation, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Levantine Entertainment, Houston First Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Champion Energy Services, Amegy Bank of Texas, The Brown Foundation, Inc. and others. The project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival was held Nov. 6-10. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org.