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October 24, 2008

Vermont International Film Fest Preview

Troublethewater Last summer someone sent me an email with a link to a New York Times piece about indie films people could check out if they were sick of blockbusters. He wanted to know why none of these movies had come to Burlington. Well, as it happens, several of them had played at Merrill's Roxy or the Palace 9 or the Savoy, just not for more than a week or so.

We're a small market, and theater owners (I'm assuming) can't afford to keep art films around for weeks in the hopes they'll find an audience eventually. I always know what movies are coming to town — because I write our showtimes — and you can too, if you check out our Clips page in the paper. (It's got blurbs and running times and everything!) But there's no at-a-glance equivalent online.

Viff_3 So I thought maybe I'd blog about some cool movies coming. Most of these are part of the Vermont International Film Festival, which, regrettably, coincides with our Vermont 3.0 conference on Saturday. But there are plenty of chances to catch them before and after you hear about all the exciting tech jobs VT has to offer...

The fest opened last night with Trouble the Water, which will start a regular run at the Palace 9 next week, and it's a doc worth seeing. Kim Rivers Roberts (pictured) is an aspiring hip-hop diva who turned amateur videographer right before Hurricane Katrina hit her Ninth Ward neighborhood. Only about 15 minutes of her three or so hours of footage are in the movie, but the whole thing is worth seeing. Roberts and her husband are larger-than-life personalities, compelling on their own. It's an up-close portrait of a neighborhood hit by disaster that you can't get from news footage.

Another documentary that's playing tonight and Saturday is Stranded, which revisits the survival story you may remember from Alive. (Yes, cannibalism was involved.) I haven't seen it, but the folks at the Onion say it's really great.

Also, are you sick of seeing trailers for Twilight, the teen vampire romance blockbuster-to-be? A Swedish import called Let the Right One In sounds like an interesting alternative for the goth-minded. (The title is from a Morrissey song, and those Swedes know how to do gloom and doom.)

I'm also looking forward to Happy-Go-Lucky, a British film about a girl who's so optimistic people find her annoying. Director Mike Leigh is hit or miss for me, but this premise is intriguing.

And don't forget the Vermont films showing at Main St Landing. Last night at the fest opening, the Goldstone Award went to brothers Adam and Evan Beamer for their 9-minute film "Knock Knock, Who's There?" — shot around Burlington. The two new awards bestowed by Palace 9 owner Harold Blank and his wife went to Taking Root and Shout It Out: The Voices Project Movie. The whole schedule is here.

The opening ceremonies on Thursday were fun!! Since the documentary about The House of LeMay, Slingbacks and Syrup, is showing at 9pm on Saturday at the Waterfront Theater, we attended the event. You can see how much fun we had by going to

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