In the five years since it started, the Loft Film Festival has established a standard of excellence that cannot be denied. Every year they present exciting films and events to bring a smile to the face of even the most critical film snob. The 5th annual Loft Film Fest runs from Oct. 16th through the19th, cramming as much cinematic pleasure as it can within a single weekend.
Among the films I look forward to the most are: Born to Fly, a documentary by Catherine Gund spotlighting the amazing dance troupe of Elizabeth Streb, a New York City choreographer who has pioneered a gravity-defying acrobatic style of dance. The Streb dancers fly through the air using trampolines and other devices to create airborne visual poetry. Prepare for jaw-dropping spectacle.
Memphis, from writer-director Tim Sutton, tells of a musician, played by Willis Earle Beale, whose art is born from reverie, dissatisfaction and spiritual longing, as he wanders through his home city of Memphis, Tennessee. The musical score was composed by Beale himself. Employing a graceful and elliptical style, with an underlying theme of struggling with loss of artistic inspiration, the film has generated quite a buzz since showing at the Venice and Sundance Film Festivals. As someone who is always drawn to spiritual subjects on film, I am eagerly anticipating this one.
French director Céline Sciamma makes films about young people and their struggles with identity. Her latest, Girlhood, portrays a black teenage girl in France, depressed by the limited possibilities offered her society, who joins a girl gang. Instead of offering the usual cautionary tale, Sciamma seeks to offer us a glimpse of the inner world of such girls, and the real needs and conflicts that drive them.
Two very special guests of the festival will be iconic American actors Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach. The two friends recently appeared together in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, which I’ve already reviewed on this show, and which is screening at the Fest on Saturday, with Dern and Keach appearing afterwards. On Sunday they appear again in what’s billed as “An evening with Bruce Dern & Stacy Keach” which includes tribute reels from their careers, and a moderated discussion. I expect this to be highly informative and entertaining.