Pimps Open and Zombies Close this Year's CineVegas Film Festival
by Ellen Keohane
The seventh annual CineVegas Film Festival, running from June 10-18, has unveiled this year's line-up which includes independent and mainstream films, documentaries and shorts from around the world. In celebration of the city's centennial, the festival is offering a Nevada filmmakers series as well as screenings of various Las Vegas-themed films including the Elvis musical "Viva Las Vegas" and cult classic "Showgirls." Opening CineVegas will be writer/director Craig Brewer's "Hustle & Flow." The film, produced by John Singleton and starring Terrence Howard, is about a Memphis pimp who decides to follow his dream of becoming a rapper. CineVegas will take place at the Palms Casino Resort and Brenden Theatres in Las Vegas.
As part of the festival's "Jackpot Premieres" series, nearly a dozen world and U.S. premieres will be featured at this year's CineVegas including the following: Antonio Campos' "Buy It Now" is about a girl who auctions off her virginity on eBay. In Catherine Cahn's comedy "Charlie's Party," a group of friends from college throw a sex party in celebration of their friend's upcoming 30th birthday. Three siblings come together for their father's wake in Christopher Jaymes' "In Memory of My Father." Set in the 1970s, Michael Aimette and John Hofmann's "Turning Green," is about a 16-year-old American boy who moves to Ireland to live with his aunts after his mother dies.
This year's "Sure Bets" series will include screenings of independent films that have secured U.S. distribution. The recently released "Mad Hot Ballroom," directed by Marilyn Agrelo, follows New York City Public school kids as they prepare to compete in a citywide ballroom dancing competition. Gus Van Sant's "Last Days," which was inspired by Kurt Cobain's life, stars Michael Pitt as the suicidal, alternative rock legend. Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro's "Murderball" is a documentary about quadriplegic rugby players. Miranda July's whimsical love story "Me and You and Everyone We Know," which recently won the Camera d'Or for best first film at Cannes, will also be screened.
Closing the festival will be the world premiere of the horror film, "Land of the Dead," directed by George A. Romero. John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper, who is also chairman of the creative advisory board for CineVegas, star in the futuristic zombie film.
CineVegas will also bestow special awards to the various actors and filmmakers at this year's festival. Christopher Walken is slated to receive a Marquee Award. Ann-Margret will be awarded a Centennial Award and Rhonda Fleming, a Centennial Legend Award. Nicholas Cage and Samanta Morton will receive Half-Life Awards, and Wim Wenders and George A. Romero will be honored with Vanguard Director Awards.
[ For more information, please visit the CineVegas website: http://www.cinevegas.com. ]