Carmel Art and Film Festival debuts with rousing slate of films, photos and art.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Robert Redford once said, “Sundance is about storytelling. Storytellers can broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.”
Over the past year, several folks, including John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, and Tom Burns, publisher of Artworks Magazine in Carmel, have collaborated to put together the Carmel Art & Film Festival, a four-day event to engage, provoke, inspire and connect through art. (For the visual arts element of the event, see story, next page.)
The seed was first planted when Artworks ran a 2008 feature article about the Sundance Institute that included an extensive interview with Redford, resulting in Sundance and Artworks developing a “good working relationship,” Burns says.
“Sundance had already shown interest in doing a festival in Carmel and Artworks wanted to do an art show,” he adds. “So I thought, why not combine the two? And I couldn’t be happier.”
Sundance is bringing in some big movies, including Untitled, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and The September Issue.
(Untitled) kicks off the film screenings tonight at 7:30pm at the Sunset Center. Jonathan Parker’s satirical slap in the contemporary art world’s face doubles as a love story starring Adam Goldberg (Dazed and Confused, Saving Private Ryan) as a pretentious composer and Marley Shelton as a Chelsea gallery owner with a penchant for taxidermy. A Q&A with co-writer/producer Catherine di Napoli follows.
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (Friday, 9pm at the Golden State Theatre) has been getting serious hype since winning the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Precious is the story of Clareece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight 16-year-old girl growing up in Harlem in 1987. The teenaged girl struggles with daily beatings from her mother (Mo’Nique) and being raped repeatedly by her father (resulting in two pregnancies and one Down Syndrome baby); her only escape is daydreams of becoming a pop star or model.
Director Lee Daniels, who produced the desolate, real world gems Monster’s Ball and The Woodsman, creates a world in Precious that is both alienated and unapologetic. (A Q&A with director Lee Daniels and actress Paula Patton follows the film.)
Also on Friday, the festival hosts a fundraiser for Carmel High’s music department at 7:30pm at the Sunset Center. The double bill includes the short film His Good Will and the feature-length The Prankster.
The September Issue (Saturday, 8pm at Sunset Center) follows the Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, as she prepares for the magazine’s largest issue ever: the four-pound, more than 800-page, 2007 fall-fashion issue. We’ve come to know the Wintour caricature created by Meryl Streep’s performance in The Devil Wears Prada, but the real life editor may prove that writer Lauren Weisberger’s caricature of Wintour is nothing more than fiction. Yes, Wintour makes sure she is always involved and her opinion is interjected into every page of the issue, but she is the editor. A Q&A with director R.J. Cutler follows the film, which won the Cinematography Award at Sundance and was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize. “It’s going to be great to hear about the stories that didn’t make it into [The September Issue] from the director himself,” Burns says.
Sundance is also showing three more documentaries.
The Queen and I (Friday, 2pm at Sunset Center) is Iranian exile Nahid Persson Sarvestani’s portrait of Farrah, the wife of the Shah of Iran. The portrait of Farrah becomes the tale of an unlikely friendship between the exiled queen and the director. Transcending: Wat Misaka Story (Saturday, 12:30pm at Sunset Center) is the story of Wat Misaka, the first Asian American pro basketball player, who was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1947. It features interviews with Misaka, his family and friends, as well as rare clips from some of his college games.
Art & Copy (Saturday, 3pm at Sunset Center), directed by Doug Prey (Surfwise, Hype!), delves into the revolutionary minds – most of whom are unknown outside of their field – behind some of the most creative ad campaigns in history including: “Got Milk?” “Just Do It” and “Where’s the Beef?”
Along with the tasty heaping of films, one of Hollywood’s most prominent, modern composers is appearing at the festival. Carmel resident and winemaker Alan Silvestri has been nominated for Academy Awards, won a Grammy and he’s been Robert Zemeckis’ go-to guy throughout the years, composing music for Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and the upcoming, A Christmas Carol.
“I started working with Bob [Zemeckis] about 25 years ago,” Silvestri says. “The best analogy for our relationship is: marriage. We even have our own vocabulary.”
Silvestri has composed more than 100 film/television scores over his 35-year career, which makes it hard for him to pick a favorite; they all have a deep meaning for him and represent landmarks in his life, like the births of his sons.
“It’s similar to the way songs were used in Forrest Gump, as signposts for different periods in history,” Silvestri says.
Silvestri hopes the festival will be another landmark in his life: an event, in his own backyard, bringing people together to share their love for art and film.
CARMEL ART AND FILM FESTIVAL takes place Thursday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at Ninth, Carmel. Thursday movie and concert $40; Friday all access $350; single night feature $25; unlimited movie pass $75; daytime movie pass $50/general; $35/students; Art of Wine Gallery Crawl $35; Alan Silvestri brunch $65; Essential Package $195; VIP $600; patron $1,500. 620-1648 or www.carmelartandfilm.com