Friday, October 05, 2007

Five films off your radar- Kelly Edition.

AFF staff and programmers are picking five movies each that might be off your radar, but are worth checking out. You may not have heard of them now, but these films will blow you away. Kelly Williams, Film Program Director

1. Good Time Max- This is James Franco's second film at the festival (the first was The Ape at AFF ’05). You may not realize it, but James writes/directs/stars in personal projects when he is not on big Hollywood productions . Along with producer Vince Jolivette (who is also in the film) and co-writer Merriwether Williams (who also happens to write for SpongeBob SquarePants), this trio of friends create unique and offbeat looks at male friendship.

2. Don't Eat the Baby- Two time AFF filmmaker Todd Berger brings his first feature to the festival this year, a funny and sad film about his home town: New Orleans. Berger's great comic timing gives a real lift to a film about the strength of New Orleans residents as they rebuild their lives and create the first Mardi Gras after Katrina, all while giving a history and pointing out the importance of the event. The doc also features a kick ass soundtrack from the Quintron and Miss Pussycat which sets a great tone for the film.

Four Sheets to the Wind- A truly indie movie, Sterlin Harjo's film is unerringly authentic look at life on the reservation in Oklahoma. It is also oddly funny, beautifully shot, and a great coming of age story with amazing performances.

4. Chasing the Dream/Big Wednesday- Two surf films play the land locked AFF this year. John Milius's 70s classic Big Wednesday will screen at the IMAX, which should be amazing to see the great photography and surf scenes on that giant screen. In competition, AFF alum Angelo Mei's Chasing the Dream recounts one big summer when some talented surfers to Huntington Beach, CA travel to Australia to take a shot at making it big. The film is narrarated by the singular Gary Busey, an homage to his role in Milius' classic.

Shotgun Stories- One of the most acclaimed films from an Austin based filmmaker in recent years, Jeff Nichols' Shotgun Stories marks a major debut from a deeply American, deeply Southern filmmaker. The film also features an amazing star turn from character actor Michael Shannon (you might remember him from William Friedkin’s Bug and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center), by far one of the most unappreciated young actors working today.

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