IIFF: a 10-day feast


Founded in 2004 by cinema impresario Brian Owens, the Indianapolis International Film Festival kicks off its 10-day feast of feature films, documentaries, shorts, workshops, premieres and parties on April 25 and continues through May 5 with screenings held at the Landmark’s Keystone Art Cinema, Key Cinemas and at the Herron School of Art on the campus of IUPUI.

A thorough screening process governed IIFF programming choices derived from the 500-plus submissions from 57 countries. Out of the 191 films representing 45 countries that will be shown at the festival, 156 contemporary movies have been chosen to compete in four categories: American Spectrum, World Cinema, Real Visions and Short Films. Also showcased in a Hoosier Lens sub-category of American Spectrum will be Hoosier filmmakers or films shot in Indiana. Finally, IIFF invites those of you who wish to “embrace your inner geek” to see films selected as part of a special sci-fi category. This week, the IIFF awarded its first Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Prize for Outstanding Science Fiction Filmmaking to the film First on the Moon. This award, IIFF director Brain Owens says, “is given to filmmakers who use the genre of science fiction to provoke thought and inspire an alteration in worldview.”

Competition winners will be selected by juries (one of which includes screenwriter/novelist Dan Wakefield, Going All the Way) in each category and will receive handmade trophies designed by Hoosier artist Jack Doskow and cash prizes. A new feature of this year’s festival will be the presentation of the IIFF’s first Career Achievement Award to brothers Albert and David Maysles, creators of some of America’s most noted classic documentaries. In addition, a retrospective of the Maysles’ works will run throughout the festival. Highlighted Maysles films will include Salesman (1968), Gimme Shelter (1970), The Christo Films (1974-present), Grey Gardens (1976), LaLee’s Kin and The Legacy of Cotton (2000).

Of the short films, which would not otherwise be seen were it not for festival big-screen outlets, four are world premieres, three are U.S. premieres and 40 are Midwest premieres. The 105 short films will be grouped into 10 categories based on their content, style and setting and include Animation Sensation, The Creeps, The Ties That Bind, Shorts for the Entire Family, Outta This World, Late Night Comedy Shorts, High Adrenaline Shorts, Love Lost and Found, From Left Field and Take This Job. Between five and 12 films will be shown within each category, with total running times between 72 and 101 minutes. Of the 105 films, 28 will be screened with feature films.

The 10th anniversary special presentation of Going All the Way will be of special interest to those who might have worked on the film, were extras or just milled around when filming took place in locations like the Red Key Tavern and Broad Ripple. Written by Indy native Dan Wakefield, who based it on his novel of the same name, the small independent film about coming of age in the ’50s helped jump-start the careers of Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Davies and Rose McGowan. The screening will take place on Sunday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the IUPUI Herron School of Art. After the film there will be a celebration, staring at 7:30 p.m., with director Mark Pellington, Wakefield and cast and crew, at the Rathskeller Biergarten, where the famous dance scene was filmed. Music will be provided by Luke Austin Daugherty and Tim Brickley, and food and drinks will be served. Tickets for the film and party are $30. Party only is $25.

Get your workshop on

Bringing professional filmmakers together with industry aspirants is an integral part of IIFF’s mission, so this year the festival has included several educational opportunities. A Screenwriting Master Class with Gordy Hoffman will be held on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. Tickets are $75 and seating is limited.

All the following workshops are free and will also be held at Herron School of Art and Design.

• “Filmmakers on Filmmaking: Emerging Technologies/Merging Cultures” with producers Kacy Andrews and List Schahet and director Russel P. Marleau will be held on Saturday, April 28, noon to 1:30 p.m.

• “Filmmakers on Filmmaking” featuring Brad Kimmel, Sidney King and Kit Ross on Saturday, April 28, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

• “Filmmakers on Filmmaking: Marketing Your Film, Gene Gamache, MaxQ Trailers” on Saturday, April 28 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.


IIFF soirees this year (in addition to the Going All the Way bash previously mentioned) include the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, April 25 at 8:30 p.m., which will follow the two opening night selections, Broken English and Thicker than Water. It will be held at World Wide Motors Mercedes Showroom on 96th and Keystone. Tickets for the film and party are $15 and include appetizer buffet, beer and wine.

The Awards Ceremony and Closing Night Party on Friday, May 4 is $75 and includes food, beer and wine and music by Kwygibo. The event will be held at the Stutz Building, 1036 N. Capitol in the second floor Car Gallery. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. For further information about films, tickets, show times, events and locations for the 2007 Indianapolis International Film Festival visit www.indyfilmfest.org or e-mail the festival at info@indyfilmfest.org.