Wednesday, March 26, 2014

RiverRun: The real film festival (around here)

A real film festival runs longer than one day -- ideally, longer than one week. It has features and documentaries, movies short and long, pictures made by masters and pictures made by students. It offers informative panels and lectures, Q-and-As with filmmakers and usually celebrates somebody's career accomplishments.

Charlotte has many endearing events dubbed "festivals" with varying degrees of accuracy. But for a festival of the kind I'm describing, you'll have to drive to Winston-Salem.

RiverRun International Film Festival opens April 4 with "Le Chef," a comedy by French director Daniel Cohen about a veteran chef (Jean Reno) whose boss brings in a gastronomic whiz with odd ideas. Here's the trailer:

The fest ends April 13 with the 2013 comedy "Bicycling With Moliere," in which a retired actor (Fabrice Luchini) gets pressured by his lover, his agent and a producer to take on a revival of the play "The Misanthrope." And THAT looks like this:

The festival will sponsor a panel about media restoration and preservation, a debate about the state's film rebates, a Master of Cinema Award presentation for Kartemquin Films (which makes documentaries, among them "The Interrupters" and the Oscar-nominated "Hoop Dreams"), a conversation with Oscar-nominated writer Debra Granik ("Winter's Bone") and another with actress Melanie Lynskey ("Heavenly Creatures," "Two and a Half Men").

Tickets for most screenings cost $12 -- matinees are $6 -- and you can buy various packages, if you're going up for any length of time. (Another incentive: Reynolda House Museum of American Art now has an exhibition titled "American Moderns, 1910-60: From O'Keeffe to Rockwell.")

But you don't need an incentive, do you? The region's coolest film festival 75 minutes away...a slate of movies running on and off all day at half a dozen venues...gas up that car!