I’m really not thinking of the Akron Film Festival as a part two to the Cleveland International Film Festival - they just happened close together. I’m glad I was able to make it up to the Akron Art Museum almost every night of the festival, because I saw some movies with great potential. And a few that were kind of not as cool. But mostly the former. The theatre was about twice as packed as this by Saturday.
If there was any movie I caught this weekend that really needs to be seen, it’s Sita Sings the Blues, directed by Nina Paley. The story is an animated version of the Indian epic Ramayana with ties to modern life and jazz music vocals by Annette Hanshaw. It sounds like a lot to go into one story, but it blends together so beautifully.
Probably the best part is that Paley is offering the movie for free viewing on the web site. Go check it out.
Last Son was Friday, which gave me some new facts about Superman’s origin and development that I didn’t already know. The movie wasn’t badly put together, but as a documentary, it kept losing me.
I missed Saturday’s feature, The Rock-a-fire Explosion, but I did see the animated shorts by Studio AKA. Their main short, Varmints, was beautiful and creative, but I think some of their real skill is shown off in the Love Sport shorts.
I want to post all of them on here, but that would just get ridiculous.
Also, look for A Practical Guide For Imaginary Friends. I saw that short twice this weekend and I still loved it.
Thursday night I checked out a sneak preview of the 33rd Cleveland International Film Festival at the Akron Civic Theatre. I even RSVP’d with WKSU like the flyer I found asked me to. I’m a helper like that.
I guess it wasn’t necessary, since there was a pretty large crowd there for a sneak peek show. There was free food to be had from Whole Foods, including some great poundcake and fruit. I definitely could not complain about that. A huge line formed almost instantly, but being on time finally paid off.
The show itself included a few trailers for upcoming CIFF films. I was a little surprised to note that all four films they promoted were documentaries, when the whole program guide shows off a lot of range in storytelling and style. Either way, I saw trailers for four films, including:
Between the Folds: A story exploring 10 different origami artists all pursuing higher art in folding paper.
Crude: An expose of the battle between the indigenous tribes of Ecuador versus Texaco, whose nearby oil drilling has caused water and marshland contamination and the deaths of numerous tribespeople.
The Way We Get By: As U.S. troops come home from tours abroad, three elderly people greet them and welcome them home as they deal with their own struggles.
The Wrecking Crew: No one has heard of them, but almost everyone’s heard the work of the Wrecking Crew, a group of musicians that played backup for almost every pop rock-and-roll sensation of the 60s.
So I was a little disappointed when the lights came up so quickly, but I guess it’s not a bad start. I’ll be looking for more information on some of these movies as the festival approaches on March 19 - there are a few in here that already sound like a great time.
On a side note, I found out that Akron is hosting a film festival of its own at the beginning of April. There is apparently a 48-hour video challenge that I will not be taking part in (acting is not among my creative skills), but the rest of it sounds like fun. I’ll be checking that out more as it get closer as well.