The 2014 Salem Film Fest kicks off tonight, brimming with the best lineup of documentary films in the seven-year history of the festival. I can say that with a little bit of authority because, in contrast to all the other years, I actually got a chance to preview some of the films.
While I can heartily recommend all the films, I can rave unreservedly about the following: Watermark, with its jaw-dropping cinematography; These Birds Walk, which one critic aptly described as "the documentary that Terrence Malick would make", complete with ravishing visuals and heartbreaking intensity; Rich Hill, which just won the Sundance US Documentary Grand Prize; Bending Steel, about which Indiewire writes, "You're not likely to see a more inspiring documentary this year"; The Exhibition, a story from the dark side of Vancouver, BC, and the artist who pays a price for shining a light; Frontline Presents, both for the glimpse inside a great show's production process, and the awarding of the Michael Sullivan Award; The Human Scale, an architect's meditation on what makes a city work (or not); Kiss the Water, one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen; and Uranium Drive-In, also spectacularly beautiful and an exquisitely-balanced and mutually heart-rending depiction of a community trying to survive.
When I was back in college, like most students, I went through stretches where there just wasn't enough money, so this paragraph is devoted to anyone who wants to experience some of the festival without spending a penny. 1) Come to the Salem Film Fest Kickoff Reception at Old Town Hall on Thursday at 5:30; 2) Attend the Five-Minute Student Documentary Contest on Saturday at 10 am; 3) And then head to the National Park Service for Mass Reality Check at 11 am; 4) Followed by the Filmmaker Forum: "Building Trust in Documentary Filmmaking" at noon Saturday at the SFF Pop-Up Shop at 186 Essex Street; 5) On Sunday, catch the Filmmaker Forum: "Changing Reality", also at the Pop-Up Shop; 6) Followed by another Filmmaker Forum: "Coming Soon - Doc-achusetts", also at the Pop-Up. All free, all awesome.
And by then, you probably will have made friends with somebody who double-booked their itinerary, who'll ask if you want a ticket to one of the docs!
You can get the lowdown on the whole schedule by navigating to www.SalemFilmFest.com.
As you know, we also continue to show quality programming during the fest, and we have two great films opening on Friday. So let's take a look at the schedule!
Mr. Peabody and Sherman will screen in 3D Friday and Saturday at (4:00) and 8:45; Sunday at (4:00 PM); Monday-Wednesday at (4:30 PM); and Thursday at (4:15 PM).
If you prefer 2D, MP&S will screen on Friday at 6:30; Saturday and Sunday at (11:00 AM), (1:30) and 6:30; Monday-Wednesday at 6:45; and Thursday at 6:30.
Also opening Friday is 300: Rise of an Empire, which is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel "Xerxes" and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster 300. Time Out: "It's flesh and carnage that the audience is here to see, and Murro delivers it by the glistening ton, pausing only for stray bits of backstory." Coming Soon: "An epic spectacle filled with fantastic visuals." Neon Maniacs: "What 300: Rise of an Empire lacks in Gerard Butler, it makes up for tenfold in Eva Green". And this enticing and apparently related tidbit from ScreenCrush: "There is a sex scene in 300: Rise of an Empire that is an all-timer."
300: Rise of an Empire will screen on Friday at (5:00), 7:30 and 9:50; Saturday at (11:45 AM), (2:30), (5:00), 7:30 and 9:50; Sunday at (11:45 AM), (2:30), (5:00) and 7:30; Monday-Wednesday at (4:45) and 7:00; and Thursday at (4:15) and 7:00.
So between these cool "regular" movies and the film fest, this is the week that we break the all-time CinemaSalem record for most films screened in a week: the conservative total is 40, and if you count all the shorts, the grand total is 57.
Yay! Thanks for supporting CinemaSalem!
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