Waterfront Film Festival to Screen 60 Films in Sixth Year
by Adam Burnett
The sixth-annual Waterfront Film Festival has announced its 2004 lineup, including a wide selection of genres and subjects of both narrative and documentary films. The event, to be held June 10-13 in Saugatuck, Mich., will showcase 20 Midwest premieres. Drawing from over 600 submissions nationwide, this year's program consists of approximately 60 feature-length, short, and student films. Actor and silent film-fan James Karen will be on hand to introduce Clara Bow's 1927 silent feature "It" as part of the festival's opening-night street celebration.
"Putting together the program has taken another big step up this year," co-founder Hopwood DePree said in a prepared statement. "We hope Waterfront is on the way to rivaling some of the best festivals out there. I think we're definitely setting the bar for this part of the country."
Imagined by its founders as a haven from the self-promotion and anxiousness that may pervade other film festivals, the event is entirely noncompetitive. Focus is instead turned towards audience interaction, indie exposure, daily panel discussions, and lakefront resort vacationing.
Waterfront will showcase a number of Sundance faves including Stacy Peralta's surfing documentary "Riding Giants," Shan Carruth's grand jury prize winner "Primer," and Chris Kentis' "Open Water," the true story of a couple cast off in shark infested waters. New Line Cinema's off-beat "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" directed by Danny Leiner and Brian Dannelly's recent hit "Saved!" will both receive gala presentations.
Narrative films to be featured at the festival include Rick Rapoza and Matt Hannon's "Cactuses," Matthem Leutwyler's quirky adventure "Dead & Breakfast," former Onion Editor-in-Chief Scott Dikker's comedy "Bad Meat," Gavin Dougan's portrait of starving musicians "Brass Tracks," Matthew Bonifacio's story of obsesity "LBS.," Ryan Eslinger's "Madness & Genius," Jared Hess' "Napoleon Dynamite," Cindy Baer's afterlife drama "Purgatory House," and Takeshi Kitano's "Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman." A TriggerStreet.com program will highlight the short works of some of the website's most promising would-be autuers.
Documentaries at the Waterfront Film Festival will include Paul Kermizian's "American Beer," a depiction of the modern microbrewery, Mark Brian Smith's "Overnight," a chronicle on the rise and fall of filmmaker Troy Duffy, multiple festival prizewinner "Sunset Story," and the "American Movie" team's newest effort, "The Yes Men." Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski's "Born Into Brothels," a depiction of the children of Calcutta's prostitutes, will be accompanied by a related photo exhibit at a local Saugatuck gallery.
Christopher Browne's bowling documentary "A League of Ordinary Gentlemen" will close the festival, followed by a bowling after-party and Q&A session.
Panel discussions will take place at the new SAG Indie-sponsored Waterfront Lodge. The seminar series will address such issues as the recent popularity of documentaries, DIY filmmaking, acting in independent cinema, the charm of short films, how to pitch an idea, and a Robert Hawk seminar.
[For more information, visit www.waterfrontfilm.org.]