In its 12th year, the 2010 RiverRun International Film Festival opens April 15 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The festival will screen 51 features and over 70 shorts from 33 countries, making it their most internationally diverse festival yet. “The Extra Man,” directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and starring Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, Katie Holmes and John C. Reilly, will open the festival on a comedic note, while the the Russian musical feature “Hipsters,” by Valery Todorovsky, will close the 11-day event.
This year’s festival will include a Spotlight on Mexican Cinema (2010 being the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s Anniversary and the 100th Anniversary of its revolution), with a showcase of prominent films in the country’s history, including the 1950 Bunuel classic “Los Olvidados”, “Like Water for Chocolate,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Amores Perros.”
The festival’s Master of Cinema Award will be given to filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show”) after a screening of his film “Paper Moon,” while an Emerging Master Award will go to David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express,” “Snow Angels,” “All The Real Girls”). The festival also includes Sidebar showcases “Money and Power” and “Green Scene,” with four documentaries each exploring relevant fiscal and environmental topics. The ever popular Late Night Shorts program, featuring the funniest, weirdest and most irreverent films, will round out the 70 shorts, many of which will compete in the Narrative and Documentary Short competitions.
Among the festival’s documentary highlights is the North American Premiere of the feature documentaries “Osadne” and “Soap and Water” and the U.S. Premiere of “Bassidji.” “Osadne” hails from Slovakia/Czech Republic and Director Marko Skop, a “riotously funny triptch” which follows a small town mayor/priest/journalist as he goes to meet the man – a former astronaut and current EU politician – believed to hold the key for saving the town and its tourist appeal. Germany’s “Soap and Water” from Susan Gluth is an intimate look at three women behind a Hamberg dry-cleaning establishment, and Director Mehran Tamadon’s Iranian/French/Swiss film “Bassidji” – a “crystallized pictured of the political climate in Iran that has brought about the recent uprisings for reform” that elicits candid footage of the militia that constitute the Bassidji -Iran’s ruling regime.
In the Narrative Competition, the films include Czech film “Who’s Afraid of The Wolf” from Maria Prochazkova, about a young girl whose infatuation with Little Red Riding Hood causes her perception of her increasingly distant parents to distort with “inventive visual flourishes and the enchanting conversations of the film’s uncannily perceptive children”; Canada’s “I Killed My Mother” is an powerfully raw film from first time director (and screenwriter, and star) Xavier Dolan, chronicling a semi-autobiographical story of a gay teen’s relationship with his domineering mother; and Klaus Haeroe’s “Letters to Father Jacob,” from Finland, a “quiet and elegantly realized character study” of a woman recently released from prison who is sent to help a blind, aging pastor in a remote village where both characters’ faith is put to the test.
[For more information and a full line up, visit the festival’s website.]