All photos from the ashland independent film festival facebook page.
Indie movie magic filled the air of downtown Ashland last weekend as filmmakers and cinephiles celebrated the 14th Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival. I scored myself a filmmaker pass and lived in a five-day popcorn-filled indie binge fest, which is worlds away from my usual streaming binges sur la macbook. The festival screens both features and shorts, narratives and documentaries, films for families and films “for mature audiences.” I was not able to catch every movie on my wishlist, but I was blown away by everything I did see. Here are two of my faves:
SLOW WEST: Everything a Western should be. It’s got a romantic quest, the unforgiving wilderness, lawlessness, intense shoot outs, and Michael Fassbender being sexy as hell as the John Wayne figure. Watching the opening scene, I instantly knew I had stumbled upon treasure, maybe even a new favorite. Like I am actually going to buy this one on DVD and make all my friends watch it. The screenwriting is rich with witty humor and healthy self-deprecation. The 16-year old protagonist is a romantic with naive ideals and profound lines that the rest of the film makes total fun of. Every opportunity for humor is seized, but things can get real heavy real fast and the tension is enough to make you forget how hard you were laughing a few moments ago. As a whole, the film has a smart balance of tenderness and thrill. Be prepared to feel some feelings, but not in a lame way… in a rogue, wild-wild-west kind of way.
Photos from cartellandmovie.com
Cartel Land: A documentary that parallels citizen vigilante groups on both sides of the Mexican-Arizona border fighting against drug cartels. This film premiered at Sundance this year and took home awards for best directing and best cinematography for US documentaries. We’re talking about real life drug cartels here, so there is real life violence and corruption. Watch if you want a chilling and twisted story where you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. Look for Cartel Land in theaters this July.
P.S. My super short film “As Apple Pie” played during the film festival as part of the Local’s Only screenings along with SOU professor Robert Arellano’s “Fill My Mirrors.” Watch them both right here: