Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 Ithaca International Fantastic Fest

Just a short post this week, but it's on a very relevant topic. This weekend, Cinemapolis and Cornell Cinema will be hosting Ithaca's 3rd Annual International Fantastic Film Festival. Halloween may have been two weeks ago, but this encompasses all things horror anyway. New films from around the world as well as recognized classics will be screening, with a special focus put on the theme of witchcraft.

I've never been to a film festival of any kind and despite this being a far cry from the likes of Cannes, Venice, Sundance or TIFF, it remains a reason for excitement. The occasion aligns with a weekend of relatively little work, so there will be plenty of time check out what the fest has to offer, retrospectives and unreleased works alike.

As for a schedule, my plans are not set in stone, but here's what it looks like at the moment:
 First up is Cold in July. It's not exactly a horror film, more like a crime thriller, but a second chance to see it is very welcome. The film had a far too brief release this summer and I've heard good word across the board. Tension, violence and a terrific trio of performances by Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson is expected. The film screens Friday at Cornell Cinema.
 Saturday will be throw-back day, with a double feature of The Wicker Man (the original of course!) and The Exorcist at Cornell Cinema. Somehow I've never gotten around to seeing either of these. Exorcist is less excusable, but blindspots are blindspots. Two horror classics released in 1973, one concerning cults and the other, possession. Should make for a spooky evening of viewing!
On Sunday, the festival closes, and I plan on being there for two new releases: the zany documentary of  a project gone bad, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau and the New Zealand vampire comedy, What We Do in the Shadows. Both will be screening at Cinemapolis.
To have a local film festival, no matter how small, is such a gift. A wide exposure to a variety of films allows for the free-flowing exchange of perspectives and ideas from around the world and it ought to yield at least a handful of hidden gems. While most of the titles may be unknown, it's an environment where you're encouraged to explore and dig for little films with big riches. With Cortaca rapidly approaching, I don't expect the majority of students to pay particular attention to this cultural event. Drinks will be spilling and parties will be bumping for sure. As for me, you can keep your football game...I'll be digging for buried treasure at the cinema.

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