The Loft Film Fest is the first American festival member of the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE), which brings together more than 3,000
screens and approximately 16 festivals across Europe and around the world to promote the production and exhibition of quality independent films from all
countries in all countries.
The CICAE award is designed to bring attention to excellent films in order for them to be seen in art houses around the world. The CICAE award is given out
at festivals including the Berlinale Forum and Panorama, the Sarajevo International Film Festival, the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.
The Loft Film Fest jury for documentary features includes Peter Belsito, film biz consultant, fest panelist and guest blogger for SydneysBuzz on Indiewire,
actress/writer/producer Yareli Arizmendi (“Like Water for Chocolate,” “A Day Without a Mexican”) and Beverly Seckinger, director of University of
Arizona Center for Documentary and Docscapes.
The short film jury includes Francesco Clerici, director of “Hand Gestures,” Max Cannon, creator of the alternative comic strip “Red Meat”, and Lupita
Murillo of KVOA News 4 Tucson.
The documentaries in competition are:
Florence, Arizona is a cowboy town with a prison problem. Founded in 1866, this bastion of the Wild West is home to 8,500 civilians and 17,000 inmates
spread over nine prisons. Through an unconventional lens, the documentary film “Florence, Arizona” weaves together the stories of four key residents
of Florence, whose lives have all been shadowed in some way by the surrounding prison industrial complex. The result is an intricately crafted cinematic
tapestry, threaded through with deep strands of Americana, humor, intimacy, and pathos, revealing as much about ourselves as it does about our modern
carceral state. (Dir. by Andrea B. Scott, 2014, USA, 78 mins., Not Rated) Official Selection: DOC NYC
In the 1980s, under the Nicolae Ceaușescu regime, Romanians suffered from little access to foreign goods as well as an information blackout the Communist
bureaucrats used to ensure ideological purity. But in clandestine screenings at neighbors’ homes of smuggled VHS tapes dubbed by a one-man distribution
network, people got a glimpse of the Western world and a culture of muscular individuality with heroes like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, and,
of course, Chuck Norris.
In “Chuck Norris vs Communism,” one sees the power of film to change individuals and whole societies. Through the stories of the hardworking female
dubber (the most famous voice of Romania), the memories of everyday citizens, evocative re-creations of the time, and an enormous selection of clips from
’80s movies, first-time director Ilinca Calugareanu presents a film about the unexpected consequences of mass entertainment, leading to the conclusion that
the greatest threat to Ceaușescu’s dictatorship might just have been the VCR. (Dir. by Ilinca Calugareanu, 2014, UK/Romania/Germany, in Romanian with subtitles, 83 mins., Not Rated) Official Selection: Sundance Film
Festival, Hot Docs
From Brazilian favelas to dusty Congolese villages, from Neolithic Scottish isles to modern soccer pitches, “Bounce” explores the little-known
origins of our favorite sports.
The film crosses time, languages and continents to discover how the ball has staked its claim on our lives and fueled our passion to compete. Equal parts
science, history and cultural essay, “Bounce” removes us from the scandals and commercialism of today’s sports world to uncover the true reasons we
play ball, helping us reclaim our universal connection to the games we love. (Dir. by Jerome Thelia, 2015, USA / Brazil / Congo / India / Ireland / Italy / Mexico / UK, in English with subtitles, 71 mins., Not Rated) Official Selection: SXSW
Deep in the recesses of YouTube there is an ingenious artist who cannot be stopped. He consistently churns out 3-4 original feature-length films a year.
He’s made action movies, horror movies, westerns and more. He’s not rich, he has no crew, no formal training and aside from his action figures, plays
virtually every part. Welcome to the inspiring, imaginative, and often handmade world of Ultra-DIY filmmaker Richard ‘R.G.’ Miller, a 50 year-old man who
creates impossible blockbusters from his tiny studio apartment in Wichita, Kansas. His dream audience? More than 9 people. (Dir. by Justin Johnson, 2015, USA, 76 mins., Not Rated)
Born without arms as the result of a severe birth defect, Jessica Cox never allowed herself to believe that she couldn’t accomplish her dreams. An expert
martial artist, college graduate and motivational speaker, Jessica is also the world’s only armless airplane pilot, a mentor, and an advocate for people
with disability. Directed by Emmy Award winning filmmaker Nick Spark, “Right Footed” chronicles Jessica’s amazing story of overcoming adversity and
follows her over a period of two years as she becomes a mentor for children with disabilities and their families, and a disability rights advocate working
in the U.S.A. and abroad. (Dir. by Nick Spark, 2015, USA, in English with subtitles, 82 mins., Not Rated)
follows the process of creating one of Velasco Vitali’s famous dog sculptures, from wax to glazed bronze, at the Battaglia Artistic Foundry in Milan. The
film observes the work of a group of skilled artisans in this 100-year old foundry and reveals the ancient traditions of bronze sculpture making, unchanged
since the sixth century B.C. This method is not taught in school, but is passed on in the ancient oral tradition and through apprenticeships from artisans.
This documentary observes and feels the work of the Battaglia Artistic Foundry: a place where the past and present share the same gestures and where each
gesture is a sculpture itself.
An artist who sculpts, who works the waxes, is treated in the same way as a craftsman who turns that wax into bronze, building and destroying other
ephemeral sculptures: they have been making the same gestures for centuries, and by showing this to the camera they reveal historical “jumps” in time.
Director Francesco Clerici has made a fine-tuned, carefully-observed study of a glorious thing to watch: artisans practicing their craft on film. Winner of
the FIPRESCI award at Berlinale Forum 2015. (Dir. by Francesco Clerici, 2015, Italy, in Italian with subtitles, 77 mins., Not Rated)
Official Selection: Berlin International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival
“Beaver Trilogy Part IV” (USA, dir. Brad Besser)
In 1979, KUTV in Salt Lake City acquired a new video camera. Trent Harris, a producer for the station’s offbeat show Extra, ventured out into the
parking lot to test the new equipment and happened upon a young man taking pictures of the station’s news helicopter.
The kid, calling himself “Groovin’ Gary,” was the self-proclaimed Rich Little of Beaver, Utah. His infectious personality and small-town impressions of
John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, and Barry Manilow piqued Harris’s interest enough so he gave him a business card and asked that he alert him if anything
newsworthy happened in his hometown. What happened next would become the foundation for “Beaver Trilogy,” a unique collection of films that
documented Harris’s multiple attempts at re-creating the original magic of the Beaver Kid. Director Brad Besser dives deep into the mystique of this cult
classic, unraveling the mystery of Harris’s original inspiration. “Beaver Trilogy Part IV” explores the line between the quest for fame and the
exploitation of those who pursue it. (Dir. by Brad Besser, 2015, USA, 84 mins., Not Rated) Official Selection: Sundance Film
Festival, Hot Docs
The short films in competition are in two programs:
The awards will be presented on Sunday October 25 before the final screenings of the festival: “Mia Madre” at 7:15PM and “Eisenstein in Guanajuato” at 7:45PM.
Tickets and passes on sale now at www.loftfilmfest.org.