By Brian Brooks | Indiewire March 24, 2009 at 5:7AM
The world premiere of Hue Rhodes' "Saint John of Las Vegas," starring Steve Buscemi, Sarah Silverman, Romany Malco, Peter Dinklage, Tim Blake Nelson, John Cho and Emmanuelle Chriqui will open the 11th CineVegas Film Festival taking place June 10 - 15 at the Palms Casino Resort and Brenden Theatres in Sin City, Trevor Groth, artistic director of the festival announced Tuesday. The film stars Steve Buscemi as an ex-gambler-turned fraud investigator who must return to Las Vegas to investigate an insurance claim.
Eight world debuts will screen in the fest's narrative competition, "Jackpot Premieres," including Rania Ajami's "Asylum Seekers," a story of six people trying to escape modern life; "Daylight," from David Barker, about a pregnant woman caught in a life-or-death situation; Kyle Patrick Alvarez's "Easier with Practice," based on the true story of a writer's funny and intimate long-distance relationship with a mysterious woman; "Etienne!," the story of a man and his best friend, a dwarf hamster, from Jeff Mizushima; Robert Saitzyk's Alaskan-set thriller "Godspeed"; Patrick Hoelck's modern love story "Mercy," written by and starring Scott Caan; "Patriotville" from Talmage Cooley, a modern tale of greed, lies and romantic complications; and Asiel Norton's "Redland," about a family struggling to survive during the Great Depression. The grand jury prize-winner in this section will receive $10,000 in cash.
"The independent film industry is going through a transitional period right now as innovative filmmakers must find new ways to get movies made and seen, which is why CineVegas is thrilled to open our 2009 Festival with Saint John of Las Vegas," said Artistic Director Trevor Groth. "Not only is it a fantastic comedy with a phenomenal cast, including Steve Buscemi who is pound-for-pound the world's greatest actor, but it was made by a forward thinking company, IndieVest, whose revolutionary approach to film financing and distribution just might be laying the groundwork for future generations."
In addition to Jackpot Premieres, the festival will showcase world and U.S. premieres of docs, advance screenings of what it describes as "high-profile films," and a selection of shorts and features from Nevada filmmakers. Film titles in these sections will be announced later in the Spring. In addition, CineVegas has announced a new contest where film fans can enter to win all access passes to the 11th Annual Festival by watching the Jackpot Premiere trailers online at www.cinevegas.com/jackpot. The contest will be held from today until Monday, May 4.
The CineVegas 2009 Jackpot Premieres with descriptions provided by the festival:
"Asylum Seekers" directed by Rania Ajami (USA, 2008)
Cast: Pepper Binkley, Bill Dawes, Judith Hawking, Daniel Irizarry, Stella Maeve, Camille O'Sullivan, Lee Wilkof
Six people on the verge of a breakdown decide to check themselves into an insane asylum, only to discover there is just room for one.
"Daylight," directed by David Barker (USA, 2009)
Cast: Alexandra Meierhans, Michael Godere, Aidan Redmond, Ivan Martin
When pregnant newlywed Irene is violently taken hostage, she confronts the truth about her marriage - and finds a state of unexpected grace - in her fight to survive.
"Easier with Practice," directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez (USA, 2009)
Cast: Brian Geraghty, Kel O'Neill, Marguerite Moreau, Jeanette Brox, Jenna Gavigan
While on a road trip to promote his unpublished novel, Davy Mitchell finds himself falling for a mysterious phone sex caller.
"Etienne!" directed by Jeff Mizushima (USA, 2009)
Cast: Richard Vallejos, Megan Harvey, Caveh Zahedi, Rachel Stolte, Solon Bixler
After Richard's best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take his pocket pet on a bicycle road trip up the California coast to show it the world before he must put it to sleep.
"Godspeed," directed by Robert Saitzyk (USA, 2009)
Cast: Joseph McKelheer, Cory Knauf, Courtney Halverson, Ed Lauter, Jesse Ward, Hallock Beals
An intense, dramatic thriller set in the lingering light of the Alaskan midnight sun.
"Mercy," directed by Patrick Hoelck (USA, 2008)
Cast: Scott Caan, Wendy Glenn, Troy Garity, Erika Christensen, Alexie Gilmore and John Boyd, with Dylan McDermott and James Caan
A successful but cynical young writer writes about love but does not really believe in it until he meets Mercy, who turns his world upside down.
"Patriotville," directed by Talmage Cooley (USA, 2008)
Cast: Justin Long, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Corddry, Keir O'Donnell, Missi Pyle
An idealistic museum manager and a beautiful troublemaker go to war with a corrupt mayor to stop a casino from being built on their town's "historic" battlefield.
"Redland," directed by Asiel Norton (USA, 2008)
Cast: Lucy Adden, Mark Aaron, Sean Thomas, Kathan Fors, Bernadette Murray, Toben Seymour
As a family struggles to survive in rural isolation during the Great Depression, their daughter's secret affair begins a journey into the unknown.