CEDAR CITY–In it’s 11th season, the Red Rock Film Festival is giving people something what the Festival calls ‘unheard of’ in Utah: a choice. Beginning November 11, Festival attendees can choose from 94 films from 20 countries and have a chance to meet several international filmmakers.
The Red Rock Film Festival is slated to run November 11-19 at the Ramada Hotel & Suites in Cedar City.
With no headliners, no special screenings and not even a featured artist this year, the main Festival’s line-up, so far, is listed with non-stop competition films.
“We have so many films this year in all genres and all ratings in both the Festival and the Market, we simply don’t have room,” said Festival Director Max Marxteyn. “After watching more than 950 films we are keeping one eye open for maybe a featured artist, since we introduced that category to the festival circuit; but really, there is no more room.”
Marxteyn also said that if a filmmaker wants to enter their completed film into competition they are not only too late this year, but also next year. The Festival changed its rules two years ago, allowing only films that have been completed within the past year to enter the competition.
“We want to get back to the traditional international film festivals that are about fresh new films and discovery,” he said. “There are a lot of smaller festivals that are programming random stuff like educational yoga videos pulled from the school or library video shelf, and we want to bring the excitement back of films you can’t get just anywhere. We’re not afraid of an old classic for a retrospect; but for the main Festival we’d like to keep people on their toes.”
A quick look at the Festival’s official selections reveals its international flavor with 42 from the USA, 17 from Germany, six from Canada, four from France and several other countries, some as remote as Namibia and South Korea.
The selections also show the Festival’s diversity in themes. A film on the controversial ACORN founder, a nine-time world rodeo champion, a doc on the solar plane that flew around the globe, the new Charles Manson doc narrated appropriately enough by musician/director Rob Zombie, artificial intelligence learning a 3000-year-old game, Irish missionaries in China, Haitian immigrants in conservative Dominican Republic, a motor-cross racer who becomes paralyzed in an accident and is determined to walk 20 miles in Death Valley, the little known Khojaly massacre are just some of the documentaries.
Fiction films range in genre from action/adventure to drama, thrillers, comedy, and everything in between. Themes run from a comedy about estranged siblings reunited for a funeral, corporate coverup at a Chromium Sulfate plant, a broken couple finding a buyer for their Greek vacation home as seen through the eyes of their young daughter, a new horror film with Danny Glover, an inherited jacket that give a young man the power to use his hands as guns (you read that one right — it’s German.) Those who attended last year’s Festival may remember the surreal film from Germany that won the Grand Jury prize for Best Fiction Short called “Keeper of the Past.” The films on the list show that there are a lot more surprises coming to Cedar City.
New this year is the location, with all screenings at the newly remodeled Ramada Hotel & Suites conference center. Special passes and information can be seen at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/RedRockFilmFestival. The schedule of films is posted at 2017redrockfilmfestival.sched.com/grid.
CAPTION: ‘The Last Compartment,’ a mystery thriller directed by Andreas Schaap, is among the scores of films that will play at the Red Rock Film Festival and Red Film Market in Cedar City, starting Nov. 11. Courtesy of RRFF