"Another Earth"

June 8, 2011

In-flight movies

Flyover touches down this weekend

The Flyover Film Festival shows us what we don’t always get to see. Along with regionally meaningful work, the ironically titled fest offers a weekend-long glimpse at the limited release (and pre-release) material usually reserved for art houses on the left and right coasts. Much like the town that hosts it, Flyover is both down-home and plugged-in.
 
The festival seemed to come into its own last year, featuring the area’s first look at a breakout, Oscar-nominated film called “Winter’s Bone,” as well as a repugnant and totally engrossing doc, “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.” There was a buzzed-about “mumblecore” selection that would have otherwise flown us by — the Safdie Brothers’ “Daddy Long Legs” — and a rare showing of a brilliantly goofy stoner comedy that, due to distribution woes, may never show at a theater near anybody — the Adrien Brody/Michael Chiklis romp “High School.”

“High School” opened Flyover’s sophomore year. If you were in attendance that night, upon exit, you would’ve noticed a highlight in the young history of the Louisville Film Society — the vast and pumped-up line of ticket-holders snaking through the lobby of the Kentucky Center and up the staircase to the Bomhard Theater’s next show.

The interest in both films, John Stalberg’s “High School” and “Wild and Wonderful,” Julien Nitzberg’s biopic on dancing outlaw Jesco White, confirmed that an appetite for challenging and left-of-center programming does exist in this city better known for its bourbon and racehorses. The LFS’s year-round screenings and ear-to-the-street recon on yet-to-emerge filmmakers should be credited for its part in broadening our access to cinema.

Aerial view

If for some reason you were looking to critique it, you could accuse the fest of a “Sundance Jr.” mentality. More than usual, Flyover’s program echoes a number of titles that premiered in Utah in January. The two fests share in common six features and four shorts.

As the maker of one of those Flyover/Sundance films pointed out in a prior LEO interview, Louisville is wise to base its cultural models on the success of other towns. However, it is also never too early to focus on differentiating ourselves.

“Keep Louisville Weird? Didn’t we steal that from Austin?” Zachary Treitz says to this point. (Treitz’s excellent short, “We’re Leaving,” was shot here and will show Sunday as part of “Shorts Program III.”)

In truth, Flyover’s likeness to that other fest probably speaks more to LFS’s ambition than a lack of distinction. And, as reported in LEO, Sundance 2011 showcased a wide array of work with bluegrass provenance — a better explanation for all the overlap. So, if inhaling Harvey Weinstein’s cigar exhaust holds no panache for you, Flyover’s more contained, less swaggy event presents a viable, nearby alternative to jam-packed Park City.

Next stop: Dreamland

Asked what was new for Flyover’s third flight, Tracy Heightchew, of the board of directors, says she’s pleased to show off the Dreamland Film Center, the LFS’s new home. “We’ll be hosting three programs in the Dreamland,” she says. “The space is pretty raw right now, but hopefully visitors will see its potential like we do.”

Heightchew is excited to show LFS visitors where their money is going, adding that Dreamland will be a film space that is different from a multiplex — it’ll be intimate and special. “Because it is a small space, we still need to use other venues to hold the large crowds that show up for (Flyover) films, but we are delighted to be able to host smaller crowds on Saturday.”

Some of those other venues include drive-in-style double features at the LVAA Water Tower and the Speed Museum. Flyover will lift off with a preview event at the Speed on Thursday night, where the recent work of LFS board member Stu Pollard will be shown at 7:30 p.m., with a cocktail reception to follow.

The festival officially begins Friday with the cool, indie-sci-fi-drama “Another Earth” in the leadoff slot, featuring the talent of a second LFS board member, lead actor William Mapother.

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