The world premiere of Peter Cattaneo‘s “The Rocker,” starring Rainn Wilson as a failed drunmmer who joins his nephew’s high school band, will open the 10th annual CineVegas Film Festival, taking place in Las Vegas June 12 – 21. Among this year’s debuts are seven world premieres the festival has packaged in its “Jackpot Premieres” section (listed below) in addition to the festival’s documentary section (including three world debuts), a sidebar on Mexican films and directors as well as high profile work that have been making the festival rounds and more. Closing the festival is Sean McGinly‘s “The Great Buck Howard,” starring John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt and Tom Hanks.
“Over the past ten years, CineVegas has evolved into the festival we have always wanted it to be: an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind experience for film lovers and an intimate, supportive environment for innovative films and filmmakers, as well as a dynamic launching place for studio releases,” commented Artistic Director Trevor Groth in a statement. “This year’s program continues our history of championing films that take risks, challenge audiences and push the artistic limits of filmmaking. We are also excited to introduce a documentary competition for films that have the same outlaw spirit as the features we show.”
The CineVegas 2008 lineup includes:
Jackpot Premieres (A collection of world premieres — descriptions provided by the festival)
“Big Heart City,” Directed: Ben Rodkin (USA, 2007)
An indolent gambling addict attempts to pick up the pieces after the unexplained disappearance of his pregnant girlfriend.
“Dark Streets,” Director: Rachel Samuels (USA, 2008)
A stylish noir fever dream of blues music, seduction, and murder set in a visually dazzling fantasy of the early 1930’s.
“Happy Birthday, Harris Malden,” Directors: Juan Cardarelli, Ben Davidow, Nick Gregorio, Eric Levy and Matthew Sanchez (USA, 2008)
Harris Malden has an obvious secret. He fakes his facial hair.
“Memorial Day,” Director: Josh Fox (USA, 2008)
A ferocious ensemble blurs the lines between documentary and feature film, staging a guerilla filmmaking assault on one of America’s favorite beach towns.
“She Unfolds by Day,” Director: Wolf Belgum (USA, 2008)
What began as documentary becomes fiction. What began as fiction becomes a study of nature.
“South of Heaven,” Director: J.L. Vara (USA, 2008)
A man returns home from serving his country, and must search for his missing brother who is caught up in a crime spree in the Wild West.
“Your Name Here,” Director: Matthew Wilder (USA, 2008)
America’s greatest science-fiction writer (Bill Pullman) awakes to discover himself, like one of his characters, trapped in an alternate reality … and then another … and another … and …
“Beautiful Losers,” Director: Aaron Rose (USA, 2008)
Feature documentary film celebrating the independent and D.I.Y. spirit that unified a loose-knit group of American artists who emerged from the underground youth subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk rock and hip-hop.
“Chelsea on the Rocks,” Director: Abel Ferrara (USA, 2008) U.S. Premiere
A portrait of New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.
“The End,” Director: Nicola Collins (USA, 2008)
Against the background of the East End of London England, first time filmmaker Nicola Collins explores the fascinating complexity of the lives of her father and his friends; infamous criminals that shaped their war torn environment into a violent underworld.
“Hi My Name is Ryan,” Directors: Paul Eagleston and Stephen Rose (USA, 2008 — World Premiere)
“Hi My Name is Ryan” gives a glimpse into the life of Ryan Chadwick Avery, the milk and cookies connoisseur, the photo booth artist, the fake mustache aficionado and the punk rock performance artist who was rightfully dubbed the Clown Prince of the downtown Phoenix art scene.
“Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong,” Director: Dan Lindsay (USA, 2008 — World Premiere)
A documentary that follows four individuals as they compete in the 2nd Annual World Series of Beer Pong.
“Lost in the Fog,” Director: John Corey (USA, 2007 — World Premiere)
A cantankerous owner and his blue collar colt earn the right to take on horse racing’s finest but the equine gods intervene at the last minute to turn this would-be fairy tale upside down.
La Proxima Ola (Highlighting the next wave of Mexican films and directors)
“Cochochi,” Directors: Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman (Mexico, 2007)
Set in the Sierra Tarahumara of northwest Mexico, Cochochi recounts the humble story of two Raramuri boys and their efforts to find a lost horse.
“Deficit,” Director: Gael Garcia Bernal (Mexico, 2007)
Actor Gael Garcia Bernal‘s directing debut is infused with an infectious, youthful energy, voyeuristically following his complex characters at a house party just outside of Mexico City.
?Donde Estan Sus Historias? (Where Are Their Stories?) Director: Nicolas Pereda (Mexico, 2008)
In order to save his grandmother’s property, a small-town man must move to the big city and face a new reality, estranged people and an impenetrable legal system.
Vegas Uncovered (A section of documentaries about the city and the people behind the scenes)
“Where I Stand,” Director: Scott Goldstein (USA, 2008) World Premiere
Anthony Hopkins narrates the untold story of newspaper publisher Hank Greenspun, whose “Where I Stand” column changed the face of Nevada and the nation.
Diamond Discoveries (New independent films available for U.S. distribution)
“Explicit Ills,” Director: Mark Webber (USA, 2008)
Young love, drugs and poverty collide in the city of Philadelphia creating a beautiful tale of hope and the power of coming together.
“Finally, Lillian and Dan,” Director: Mike Gibisser (USA, 2007)
An awkward, little love story.
“Goliath,” Director: David Zellner (USA, 2008)
A recently divorced man tries to find the one aspect of his marriage that still matters to him: his missing cat, Goliath.
“Go-Go Tales,” Director: Abel Ferrara (USA, 2008)
With a bump-and-grind soundtrack, a terrific (and pulchritudinous) cast and a delightfully improvisatory flow, Abel Ferrara’s strip club comedy, starring Willem Dafoe as the failing club’s indefatigable showman, interweaves multiple storylines with terrific panache.
“Visioneers,” Director: Jared Drake (USA, 2007)
One day, repressed people begin exploding. Like the rest of the population, George Washington Winsterhammerman tries to ignore the epidemic and live his usual life, but then he suffers his first symptom: a dream.
“Wellness,” Director: Jake Mahaffy (USA, 2007)
An independent feature about a man trying to succeed in a business that doesn’t exist.
Sure Bets (Screenings of high profile independent studio films)
“The Black List: Volume One,” Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (USA, 2008)
22 living portraits by leading African Americans on race, struggle and the seeds of success.
“Choke,” Director: Clark Gregg (USA, 2007)
A wickedly colorful dark comedy starring Sam Rockwell about mothers and sons, sexual compulsion, and the sordid underbelly of colonial theme parks.
“Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ With the Godmother,” Director: Billy Corben (USA, 2008)
The true story of multi-millionaire cocaine dealer Charles Cosby, who soon learns that he’s in way over his head.
“The Cool School,” Director: Morgan Neville (USA, 2007)
The story of Los Angeles’ legendary Ferus Gallery and the birth of the West Coast modern art scene.
“GONZO: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,” Director: Alex Gibney (USA, 2008)
A fast moving, wildly entertaining documentary looking into the uncanny life of national treasure and gonzo journalism inventor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
“Hank and Mike,” Director: Matthiew Klinck (USA, 2008)
Pink. Pissed. Unemployed.
“Help Me Eros,” Director: Lee Kang-sheng (USA, 2007)
A young stockbroker is left penniless after a stock market crash and soon indulges in a world of erotic and psychedelic pleasures.
“The Last Mistress,” Director: Catherine Breillat (USA, 2007)
Set in 19th century France, The Last Mistress chronicles the love affair between a tempestuous Spanish mistress and a distinguished, well-bred French man.
“Momma’s Man,” Director: Azazel Jacobs (USA, 2008)
A 30-something man stays in his parents’ downtown loft on a business trip, and finds excuses to stay after his consulting job is finished, instead of returning home to his wife and newborn.
“The Rocker,” Director: Peter Cattaneo (USA, 2008 — Opening Night Film)
The Rocker tells the story of a failed drummer who is given a second chance at fame. Robert “Fish” Fishman is the extremely dedicated and astoundingly passionate drummer for the eighties hair band Vesuvius, who is living the rock n’ roll dream until he is unceremoniously kicked out of the band. Twenty years after his rock star fantasies are destroyed, just when Fish has finally given up all hope, he hears that his nephew’s high school rock band, A.D.D., is looking for a new drummer. They reluctantly make him the newest member of the band, giving him a chance to reclaim the rock God throne he’s always thought he deserved, and taking the young band along for the ride of their lives.
“The Great Buck Howard,” Director: Sean McGinly (USA, 2008 — Closing Night Film)
Law-school dropout Troy Gable (Colin Hanks) answers an ad for a “personal assistant to a celebrity performer,” not knowing that the performer is Buck Howard (John Malkovich), a “mentalist” infamous for his 61 appearances on The Tonight Show, who has been reduced to a has-been magician in need of a pretty big trick to get him out of this slump.
Area 52 (An underground collection of cult and midnight movies)
“The Juche Idea,” Director: Jim Finn (USA, 2008)
A film about a South Korean video artist who comes to a North Korean art residency to help bring Juche cinema into the 21st century.
“Mock-Up on Mu,” Director: Craig Baldwin (USA, 2008)
A dense, obsessive found-footage “collage narrative” that braids the threads of post-war California culture – Aerospace, Beatniks, and New Age spirituality – into a conceptual Chinese finger-trap ensnaring L. Ron Hubbard and Lockheed Martin’s evil fingers.
“Schoof,” Director: Giuseppe Andrews (USA, 2008 — World Premiere)
A force named Schoof began its rampage of Earth in a slow, subtle manner and in the end, it will take a scientist, a willing test subject and a group choral to save the galaxy.
“Them!” Director: Gordon Douglas (USA, 1954)
The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization.
[For more information and to view the shorts and other sections’ line ups, visit the festival’s website.]