Cinema East 2013
By Don Simpson | June 2, 2013
When Cinema East began during the Summer of 2010, Austin truly became the city of my dreams. Life does not get much better than spending hot summer nights, outside on a picnic blanket, with some adult beverages, watching some of my favorite films of the festival circuit with an audience of 300 – 600 cinephiles, hipsters and everyone in between. I could do without the humidity and the mosquitoes, but otherwise Cinema East is as close to heaven as I will probably ever get.
In 2011, the French Legation proved to be an idyllic environment for Cinema East, so there was definitely some disappointment when Cinema East had to find a new home for their 2012 season. Now gearing up for their fourth season, this marks Cinema East’s triumphant return to the French Legation (which makes that trek to the free after-parties at Cheer Up Charlie’s so much easier).
Gates open at 7 pm, with DJ sets from Samantha Garrett and Mike Z of Deep Cuts keeping the eardrums of the masses occupied until the films begin (approximately 9 pm). The Austin Audio Co-op will be debuting their new 24’x13.5′ screen as the official providers of sound and projection for the 2013 season. Oh, and for all of the movie-loving pups out there, Cinema East is a very dog-friendly environment (just be sure to bring a human chaperon). Also, even though Cinema East is BYOB (you can bring your own food too), vendors will be on site, selling hot dogs, fresh juice, beer & wine, ice cream and popsicles. Most importantly, admission is “pay what you can” with a suggestion of $2-$5.
Come out to Cheer Up Charlie’s on Monday, June 3 for the Cinema East Launch Party (8pm – 12am) to find out more information about the amazing awesomeness of this year’s program.
June 9: Cutie and the Boxer
(dir. Zachary Heinzerling)
Utilizing boxing gloves and his mohawk as painting tools, Ushio Shinohara’s unique style of “action art” crashed the New York art scene in the 1970s. Around the same time, Shinohara fell in love with Noriko, an art student who he hired as his assistant and later became his wife. Decades later, director Zachary Heinzerling’s observational documentary finds the couple struggling to make ends meet. Shinohara is still actively creating “action art” while Noriko develops a new series of paintings centered on the autobiographical characters, Cutie and Bullie. Starting with its much buzzed about premiere at Sundance 2013, Cutie and the Boxer quickly became the darling of the 2013 film festival circuit.
Screens with Black Metal (dir. Kat Candler)
June 23: A Teacher
(dir. Hannah Fidell)
Writer-director Hannah Fidell’s A Teacher maintains an extremely high level of suspense as a high school teacher, Diana (Lindsay Burdge), clandestinely carries out an affair with one of her students, Eric (Will Brittain). Brian McOmber’s masterfully atonal and percussive score escalates the film’s tension with its disturbing alternation between droning and piercing sounds; and it is not long before we realize that McOmber is forcing us inside of Diana’s crazed head-space. Andrew Droz Palermo’s cinematography is equally unnerving as it places us directly within Diana’s personal space allowing us to experience the world of A Teacher from her intimate perspective. As Diana’s perception of reality becomes increasingly skewed and confined, so does our view of the on screen events. We may have seen stories like Diana’s before, but Fidell and Lindsay Burdge present Diana from a uniquely feminine perspective. Not to discredit Will Brittain’s impressive performance, but the effectiveness of A Teacher rests heavily upon the shoulders of Burdge who proves herself to truly be a force to be reckoned with in this astounding breakout performance. (Check out our 9 out of 10 review from Sundance 2013 and video interview with Hannah Fidell, Lindsay Burdge and Will Brittain.)
Screens with Weighting (dir. Dustin Bowser & Brie Larson)
July 7: Zero Charisma
(dir. Katie Graham & Andrew Matthews)
Zero Charisma presents the story of Scott (Sam Eidson), a role-playing “gamemaster” — to give credit where credit is due — whose life, by most standards, is a complete failure. He’s homely, overweight, lives with his crusty grandmother (Anne Gee Byrd) in her cluttered run down house, is employed as a donut delivery guy and, if it’s not already obvious, is very single. I can’t give Zero Charisma star Sam Eidson, whose realistic portrayal is spot-on brilliant, or directors Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews enough credit for the job they do in so fully humanizing such a pathetic character. While Scott is a hard person to like and I would probably find it nearly impossible to spend time with him, he never feels less than genuine and real. I found myself rooting for him in his battles with his mother, with his former comic book store co-workers and with his arch-enemy Miles (Garrett Graham). It quickly becomes apparent that this is a person who, due to circumstances beyond his control, never really had a chance to succeed in life. He’s just trying to get by the best he can, and in the process has managed to find what a lot of people would be happy to have, a little niche in which to thrive. Watching him lose that, even if “that” is something that most people consider pathetic, is an incredibly moving experience. (Check out our 9 out of 10 review from SXSW 2013.)
Screens with SLASH (dir. Clay Liford)
July 21: Bluebird
(dir. Lance Edmands)
As Lesley (Amy Morton) does the routine end-of-day inspection of her school bus, she becomes distracted by the presence of a bluebird. As quickly as the little bird flies away, this fleeting event creates a tsunami of consequences for Leslie. Writer-director Lance Edmands’ Bluebird contemplates the economic risk of working in jobs in which you are responsible for other people’s lives. All people get distracted while working, yet most of them do not risk a lawsuit or jail time as a result of an innocent ten second distraction. Bluebird is an impressive directorial debut by Edmands, who gets incredibly naturalistic performances from his very capable actors. Edmands ties his characters to the nature that surrounds them; the trees and snow both factoring directly into the emotional struggle of the characters. Those very same elements also seclude their town, cutting it off from the rest of the world, leaving them to deal with their own problems. (Check out our 8 out of 10 review from Tribeca 2013.)
Screens with When We Lived In Miami (dir. Amy Seimetz)
In addition to the summer series at the French Legation, Cinema East will host two special screenings featuring Swim Little Fish Swim and Mother of George. (Locations and screening dates are TBD.)