Deep Ellum Opens with "Kinsey"; Duvall, Anders and Caouette Among Honorees
by Brian Brooks
Dallas, TX's Deep Ellum Film Festival opened last night with the Texas premiere of Bill Condon's Toronto 2004 feature, "Kinsey," ushering in a lineup of 75 features, documentaries and shorts that are screening at the sixth annual event through October 21st. "Kinsey" stars Liam Neeson and Laura Linney about the man who in 1948 caused a cultural uproar in the U.S. with the publication of his book, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male." Also from Toronto is Dan Harris' story of family turmoil, "Imaginary Heroes," starring Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels.
Thai director Prachya Pinkaew's film "Ong Bak," about an unlikely boy who is compelled by a town to retrieve its beloved Buddha is also on tap, along with the 10th anniversary screening of C.M. Talkington's "Love and a 45" with Renee Zellweger, Rory Cochrane and Peter Fonda. Sundance 2004 favorite "Tarnation" will also screen at the event. Director Jonathan Caouette will also be present to receive the festival's inaugural "The First Point of View Emerging Vision Award," for his spellbinding portrait of his life growing up amidst his mother's troubled past.
Making its world debut at Deep Ellum is Tom Caltabiano's "95 Miles to Go," described by the event as an "intimate look at Ray Romano's eight-day drive through America's South on his stand-up comedy tour." David Gordon Green's "Undertow," starring Jamie Bell, Josh Lucas and Dermot Mulroney, will have its Texas premiere. Green will also be the recipient of the fest's "DEFMAN's 3rd Texas Filmmaker Award."
Other films in the roster include Michael Clancy's dark comedy "Eulogy" (Texas premiere) and Antoine Fuqua's "Lightning in a Bottle," also a Lone Star state debut. Music themed offerings are also prominent, including Luciana Pedraza's "The Portrait of Billy Joe," which documents the life of Texas songwriter legend Billy Joe Shaver as well as Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia's "End of the Century, the Story of the Ramones."
Actor/filmmaker Robert Duvall will be presented the annual 2004 Pioneer Filmmaker Award for "excellence in theater, television and cinema." The "Second Annual Trailblazer Award" will be presented to Todd Wagner, co-owner and CEO of 2929 Entertainment and founder of the Todd Wagner Foundation. Among Wagner's interests in the biz are holdings in Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures, and a stake in Lions Gate Entertainment. Director Allison Anders will receive the 3rd annual "Maverick Filmmaker Award."
"We have worked hard to create a line up in 2004 that celebrates teh filmmaker and reflects the fabric of our times, challenging, diverse and passionate," commented festival founder and director Michael Cain in a statement. "We celebrate the experienced and always challenging voices of those who have lead the way along with the brave new voices who are reinventing the world of independent film. This festival is unique in that it also chooses to carry with it the additional responsibility of raising funds and awareness for cancer relief."
[ For more information and a full line up, please visit http://www.def2.org. ]