Regional
2:05 pm
Mon March 15, 2010

White Sands Film Festival Announces Schedule

Las Cruces – The 2010 White Sands International Film Festival has announced the 2010 program and film selections. The titles include Narrative and Documentary Competition films, as well as out-of-competition feature film selections in the Showcase and Special Events sections.

The 2010 WSIFF will take place in Las Cruces, New Mexico April 15th-18th, 2010. Films will be screened at Allen Theatres Cineport 10.

"We were pleased to have had a record number of films submitted to compete for a screening at the festival. As a result, the festival will include 18 full length features and 35 shorts. There is a wide range of subject matter that explores the culture and character of communities from New Mexico to India.

We will be welcoming the largest number of film professionals including producers, directors, actors and technicians. Please take advantage of their presence by participating in the workshops and the discussion sessions that follow the films. Finally, we hope that you will have an enjoyable time at the festival here in Las Cruses."
- Donn Finn, Executive Director


Showcase & Special Event Narrative Films:

A Lonely Place for Dying, directed by Justin Evans. (USA)-Starring James Cromwell (BABE, THE QUEEN, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL) In 1972, the conflict in Vietnam continues. The creeping threat of communism grips the nation in fear. In an abandoned prison on the US/Mexican border, KGB mole Nikolai Dzerzhinsky waits for his contact from the Washington Post. He holds explosive evidence against the CIA, information he will trade for asylum in the United States. Special Agent Robert Harper's orders are clear: take the documents from Dzerzhinsky and kill him. *Strong Violence

Em, written and directed by Tony Barbieri. Produced by Jim Jermanok.-(USA)
Instinctive mutual attraction brings Josh and Amanda together, but when that initial attraction blossoms into a rich romance, and the two decide to start a new life and a home together, secrets from the past emerge.

Krews, directed by Hilbert Hakim, produced by Christopher Hempstead. (USA)-KREWS is provocative as its cleverly drawn characters explore themes of betrayal and greed. The film creates an atmosphere charged with distrust and desperation. A strong ensemble cast led by Brian Geraghty (THE HURT LOCKER), give compelling and complex performances.
*Strong Violence & Language

Ocean of Pearls, directed by Sarab Neelan (USA) Starring Omid Abtahi. (BROTHERS)Amrit Singh is of two worlds, but belongs to neither. A turban-wearing Sikh, he has lived his life in North America out of sorts and out of place, cast adrift at an uneasy crossroads between East and West. But when he is offered a prestigious position as a transplant surgeon in a Detroit hospital, the young doctor sees it as a opportunity to start fresh. He struggles to be the man he believes he is and at the same time the person he wants to be. His ambitious pursuit of success, however eventually leads to tragedy and it is only in defining his singular identity that he finds peace.

Ten Years Later- directed by Aaron Metchik (USA)- 10 Years Later is a dark comedy about a girl who returns to her home town for her ten year reunion and kidnaps a man who raped her in high school. When she inadvertently gets her friends involved, each of them must decide whether to turn in their best friend, or become accomplices in a dark plot, which none of them are sure they can pull off.


The Only Good Indian, directed by Kevin Willmott. (USA) Staring Wes Studi (LAST OF THE MOHICANS, HEAT, AVATAR) Set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teenaged Native American boy (newcomer Winter Fox Frank) is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian "training" school to assimilate into White society. When he escapes to return his family, Sam Franklin (Wes Studi), a bounty hunter of Cherokee descent, is hired to find and return him to the institution. Franklin, a former Indian scout for the U.S. Army, has renounced his Native heritage and has adopted the White Man's way of life, believing it's the only way for Indians to survive. Along the way, a tragic incident spurs Franklins longtime nemesis, the famous Indian Fighter Sheriff Henry McCoy (J. Kenneth Campbell), to pursue both Franklin and the boy.


Narrative Competition

And Then She Was Gone, directed by Jacqueline Pennewill. (USA)-And Then She Was Gone is a narrative short filmed in Savannah, GA. The story focuses on a young woman who meets a mysterious older woman in a park. She engages the woman in conversation and finds that the woman is both the key to her past and the mystery of her future.

Inspired by Italian cinema, the films quality is that of a dream, set to the backdrop of Spanish moss, and a town textured with ghosts and nostalgia. The message of the film is simple: life is sometimes too short and bittersweet.

Becoming Eduardo, directed and written by Rod McCall. (New Mexico, USA)-Starring Elizabeth Pe a. (THE INCREDIBLES, TORTILLA SOUP, NUMB3RS)Eddie Coraz n, a 16-year-old juvenile delinquent and secret reader, attends an alternative high school in Rosablanca, New Mexico. A former straight-A student, Eddie now walks the thin line between tragedy and glory as he searches for his place in the world. A long-time friend, T.J. Ritchie, pushes him to deal drugs. An unorthodox teacher encourages him to develop his intellect. By chance, Eddie enrolls in a ballroom dance class where he meets college-bound beauty Lupe Garc a and is struck down by love. Desperate to impress Lupe, he even tries his hand at poetry. To his surprise, Eddie discovers that he has a natural gift.

Bedford Park Boulevard, directed by Felix Thompson. (USA)-Byron Cruz is a 15-year old Hispanic boy from Queens trying to keep his head above water at school. However, the world of rules and regulations is at odds with everything boyhood stands for. Aided by his mischievous best friend Ray, Byron struggles to outwit a school system that seems set against him.

Champagne Supernova, directed by Fernando Jover. (SPAIN)-A mature lady has a shocking relationship with a 24-year old boy.

Dear John, directed by Lisa Hill. (New Mexico, USA)-Dear John is a story about a man that wins the lottery the day after he's blown his head off. It has a happy ending just not for John. A homeless man finds the ticket John had thrown in the trash and ends up with the life John could of had if he's waited one more day.

Delivery Date, directed by Matthew Page. (USA)-Chad goes out on a blind date finds that he is due for a surprise.

Drive by Shakespeare- "King Lear", directed by Rudy Miera. (New Mexico, USA)-'Cinema Verite' meets staged Drama as the dramatized major speeches from Shakespeare's 'King Lear' are intercut with 'Person-on-the-street' micro-interviews giving a wide range of perspectives on one of the original 'dysfunctional' families.

El Hilo de Oro, directed by Diego Sanchidrian. (SPAIN)-Sometimes, mystifying bonds set connections among people. Bonds which overcome distance, unawareness and oblivion. And, when these bonds are created, they can become what we need to survive.

El Taxista, directed by Luis Robledo. (USA)-On a dark night, what seems to be a routine shift for taxi cab driver, Ricardo Villamontes, turns out to be a night where questionable morality and loneliness collide. Norma, a beautiful, broken stranger enters the cab and the ensuing events change the course of their lives forever. Nothing as it seems...our strangers soon discover the commonalities between them and the secrets they share.

Four of a Kind, directed by Fiona Cochrane. (AUSTRALIA)-Four different women, each with a well-hidden secret they are coaxed, tricked or forced into revealing sometimes it's better to omit the truth. The twists and turns in this psychological thriller mean things are seldom
as they seem.

Good Night My Zombies, directed by Wes and Maura Dhu Studi. (New Mexico, USA)-Kohlen and Maura Studi, Stephen Jules Rubin and a gang of teen zombies. A mother's nightmare of teenagers invading the house with pizza and video games. Are they zombies or average teenagers?

Island of the Gondoliers, directed by Guido Muzzarelli. (USA)-City of Lost Children meets Fellini's La Strada in this Venetian steampunk adventure about a bookish Italian historian named Leo Ghianti whose obsessive quest to find the last survivors of a forgotten genocide leads him into a frightening confrontation with a sinister circus.

Jesusito de Mi Vida (Jesus of My Life), directed by Jesus Perez-Miranda. (SPAIN)-Jesus, a six-year-old child, wakes up in the middle of the night with an urgent need to pee. But his fear of the dark prevents him from crossing the corridor that leads to the bathroom. Influenced by his mother's advice, he asks God for help, in the hope that some kind of miracle might happen.

La 2e Peste, directed by Stephen Ausherman. (New Mexico, USA)-The story of a miserable dance that evolves into a proud tradition. This absurd narrative, delivered in French, is an allegorical response to 'tradition' as a justification for animal trapping.

Man Entering, directed by Stephen Jules Rubin and Maura Dhu Studi. (New Mexico, USA)- An abstract comedy about two employees dutifully guarding an entranceway while a man tries various methods to break the rules and get through.

Manual Practico Del Amigo Imaginario (Imaginary Friend Practical Manual), directed by Ciro Altabas. (SPAIN)-Fernando is a shy 27 year old young man who receives the visit of an old classmate, Iratxe. This arouses jealousy in his imaginary friend, Captain Kiloton, a superhero that had stood by his side since he was a kid, and who feels their friendship is now in jeopardy

Martes por la Ma ana (Tuesday Morning), directed by Cheli Sanchez. (SPAIN)-Working in a big company can burn anyone and Pedro was not going to be any different from the rest. Any given tuesday...

Ni o Balc n (Balcony Boy), directed by Pilar Palomero. (SPAIN)-Balcony boy, poor balcony boy, this is the story of the Balcony Boy. His fault, having big ears. His bad habit, putting his head where he shouldn't have.

Nsta Charge, directed by Igor Choromanski. (New Mexico, USA)-An outdated, quirky little robot becomes entranced by his sexy friend's latest rechargeable batteries.

Pintauro Road, directed by Kevin Sonnichsen. (USA)-John took a vow to protect; Helen took a vow to obey. Returning from her sister's funeral, the wind whipping through their Thunderbird convertible stirs up a lifetime of secrets and reveals the staggering cost of playing by the rules. Helen learns that when everything is bought and paid for, an even greater debt is left behind. As they search for redemption on Pintauro Road, a fog of betrayal stretches as far as the coastline in front of them.

Powerball, directed by Gary Farmer. (New Mexico, USA)-Starring Gary and Stephen Jules Rubin as two homeless Santa Feans adorbaly pondering life and the treatment of Native Americans.

Red Mesa, directed by Ilana Lapid. (New Mexico, USA)-Set against the backdrop of the US/Mexico border, "Red Mesa" is the coming of age story of Lynn, 17, caught in between her love for her grandfather and her forbidden romance with a Mexican laborer from a neighboring ranch. Lynn's deception of both men leads to a terrible accident when the three of them are thrown together under a situation of great stress. Coming face to face with the painful realities of the border, Lynn realizes that meaningful relationships can only be based on honesty and the courage to stand up for what you believe.

Res Q, directed by Paul Porter. (New Mexico, USA)- In a post-apocalyptic world, a man that escapes from the evil Marauders and their Queen in Q City, convinces a band of roving soldiers to get him back in the city and save his girlfriend. He promises them each their own sort of riches and they enter the city ready to battle for their treasure.

Respirac n, directed by Brandon Roots. (USA)- "Respiraci n" is the story of a young woman, Maria Acosta, a migrant farm worker in the fields of Southern California. Maria has just learned that she is pregnant and her life takes a turn for the worse when she finds that the father of her unborn child is in the country illegally. In the face of steep odds Maria's greatest struggle is simply to keep her fledgling family together.

Road to Sangam, directed by Amit Rai. (INDIA)-A simple story of a God fearing, devout Muslim mechanic named Hasmat Ullah (Paresh Rawal) who has been entrusted the job of repairing an old V8 ford engine, not knowing the historic significance that it once carried the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi which were immersed in the holy river Sangam.

He is caught in a complex situation after a powerful bomb explosion rocks his town leading to the arrest of innocent Muslim youths of his locality. A strike to work is called by the prominent Leaders (Om Puri) (Pavan Mallhotra) of his community to protest against the unjust treatment meted out to those arrested youths by the police.

Stress Interview, directed by Jim Jermanok. (USA)-Comedy short about the often horrific experience of interviewing.

Surviving Cupid's Arrows, directed by Michael Zeilik. (New Mexico, USA)-How do loving couples survive the storms of long-term relationships? This short documentary takes a wry look at the dynamics of five committed couples and how spirituality, sensuality, and creativity contribute to enduring intimacy.

The Finding, directed by Alonso Alvarez Barreda. (MEXICO)-A young boy and his abusive father try to cope with the absence of a mother.

Things We Do For Love, directed by Don Gary. (New Mexico, USA)-"Things We Do For Love" is a short film about how far one family is willing to go to show their love for one and other. Set in a small mining town in Northern New Mexico - coffins, fresh graves and a parade of odd funerals provide the backdrop for one family's affection. In the end, why shouldn't a funeral brighten someone's day after all?

Tigers At The Gate, directed by Nina Sudra. (CANADA)-A young woman hides out in the presidential suite of a hotel when she's forced to attend a family wedding in hopes to avoid the other annoying guests.

Trying Too Hard, directed by Jim Jermanok. (USA)-Comedy short about the often horrific experience of interviewing.


Showcase & Special Event Documentary Films:

State of Rock, director Anthony Arkin. (USA)-In 2001, Brooklyn-based Girls of Porn (GOP) was on the road to success and had a world-renowned record producer set to mix their debut and shop their album to the majors.But shortly before recording was to begin, powerhouse lead singer Ray West (Spread Eagle) left the band to pursue a solo career. This GOP was confronted with a tough decision: face band death, or find a new front man

State of Rock follows the remaining members of GOP on their quest, introducing us to a driven bunch of unsung dreamers in the process: the roadie who always wanted to be in a band; the businessman who used to be; and the two would-be lead singers who get their chance (including a pre-American Idol Constantine Maroulis).


The Land of Space and Time, directed by Michael Lennick & Shirley Gulliford.(New Mexico, USA) (CANADA)-Space research began in New Mexico. Centuries ago. A fascinating new feature-length (seventy-two minutes run time) documentary by award winning writer/director Michael Lennick that traces the early work that led to the United States space program as it played out under the startling desert skies of southern New Mexico...


Documentary Competition

Autism:Made in the USA, directed by Gary Null. (USA)-Autism. What is it and why is it on the rise? In this feature length documentary presentation, award winning executive producer Gary Null is on a quest to reveal the true causes and promising solutions for the recent dramatic increase in autism in our children.

Dressed, directed by David Swajeski. (USA)-DRESSED is the inspiring story of designer, Nary Manivong, who defied the odds of a broken childhood and homelessness, to follow his dream of showing his collection at New York's Fashion Week and launching his brand. The film is set against the backdrop of New York's fashion industry with commentary from industry professionals, designers and celebrity's about 'what it takes' to make it in the highly competitive world of fashion.

Feeding Santa Fe, directed by Carol Ann Short. (New Mexico, USA)-This film addresses the issue of hunger in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe has a diverse population of the extreme wealthy to the immigrant families struggling to get jobs. It is not only the economy that has caused difficulty to many attempting to feed their families, hunger in Santa Fe has been present for years prior. Meet a homeless man who tells of searching for food in trash cans to survive, a single dad struggling to feed his children, and a homeless youth thankful for the resources available at the local homeless shelter - resources that he and his siblings have relied upon for years.

Flights of Arrows, directed by Denise Lynch. (USA)-Flight of Arrows A short piece on the different stages and pieces used to replicate the intense beauty of the arrow of the 17Th century. These 300 arrows call home to the NM History Museum and depict the energy and intention of the Indians involved the famous Pueblo Revolt in 1680 where New Mexico for a short period was reclaimed by its indigenous people in a bold and courageous move led by Popay to reclaim their territory from the Spanish.


From The Community to the Classroom: A Youth-Directed Documentary of How Davis Young People Led Their Community Closer Toward Educational Equity, directed by Clifford Garibay. (New Mexico, USA)-By reputation, Davis, California is a 'liberal, progressive' university community with 'high-performing' schools. But as in many American communities, beneath the surface lay marked racial disparities in schooling experiences and hurtful race relations. Charting more than 7 years, 'From The Community To The Classroom' documents the transformative power that youth in conjunction with adults had on one community's successful albeit ongoing quest for racial justice.


Last Night At the Drive-In, directed by Brennan F. Leverenz. (New Mexico, USA)-A look inside the projection booth at Las Vegas, NM's historic Fort Union Drive-In. Built in the 1940's, it still uses the original carbon-rod projectors. But it is getting harder to find carbons...

Mexica, directed by Rudy Miera. (New Mexico, USA)-MEXICA' ( the Nahuatl name that the Aztec people gave to themselves ) is a 5 -minute image collage/music video incorporating footage of the Kalpulli EHECATL ( Wind ) Aztec Dance group in a variety of contexts.Original instrumental music was composed to the shifting dramatic images by composer Melyssa Garland.

Music of the Brain, directed by Fiona Cochrane. (AUSTRALIA)-Music affects our development from the womb to the grave. This documentary examines the role music plays in developing our brains as humans, beginning with premature infants in neonatal intensive care wards, moving through the role of music in enhancing performance in childhood (including discussion of the Mozart effect), the role of music therapy in hospitals, and finally looking at the elderly. Music is good for our health - and this documentary shows you how and why.


Nokota Heart, directed by Sean Garland. (IRELAND)-The story of Leo Kuntz, Vietnam vet turned horse rancher, his life and loves out on the Great Plains of North America and ongoing fight to save the legendary Nokota horse of Sitting Bull from extinction in the inexorable onslaught of the 21st Century. Intimate and raw, grand and daring, this is WB Yeats meets Sam Shepherd, the vanishing American frontier through the prism of an Irish director / storyteller, suffused with the quiet mysticism and unassuming humanity of an everyman, humble unto himself yet unquestionably a unsung hero left behind by time. NokotaHeart is a story for our times.

Open Season, directed by Raquel Chapa. (New Mexico, USA)-This documentary will represent the plight of Indigenous survivors of sexual assault in the United States as well as give a platform to those who take action against these acts of violence. The work will highlight the systematic failure of law enforcement to provide protection for Native women or to prosecute their assailants. Through interviews with experts, counselors, and survivors of sexual assault, the effects of this violence against Native communities will be detailed.

Our People, Our Lady, Our Faith, directed by Adrian Guzman. (New Mexico, USA)-The Guadalupe Day Ceremonies are celebrated throughout the Americas. This is the story of the culture, faith and dedication of the people who participate in the Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe held in Tortugas, New Mexico.

Still Here, Suzanne Mejean. (USA)-Military families who live with Flat Daddies experience deployment in a new way. The cutout life-sized photographs of troops sent to families is meant to act as a transitional object and visual reinforcement for children during the time of deployment.

Violinas, directed by Sean Solowiej. (New Mexico, USA)-Violinas presents the almost-lost traditions of violin making and playing in New Mexico. Instructor Peter White traces the history of these traditions back to the 1600s, when Jesuit priests brought violin making along the Rio Grande river basin to the indigenous peoples of the region. From chopping down tight-grained mountain pines in the Sandias to lessons in ethnomusicology, a handful of students from the University of New Mexico work to reinvigorate the original violin-making tradition of North America.

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, directed by Stephen Low. (CANADA)-Volcanoes of the Deep Sea reveals the astounding sights that lie 12,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, while delivering a real-life tale of mystery as scientists search for an animal that may be one of Earth's greatest survivors. Filmed at deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites in the Atlantic and Pacific, this giant screen experience, with it's dramatic views of rarely-seen marine life and habitats, provides a paradigm-shifting view of the deep ocean.

When Cotton Blossoms, directed by Scott Magie. (USA)-In the autumn of 1909, a young man named Laurence Jones stepped off the train in Braxton and walked into the piney woods of rural Mississippi. Carrying only a few clean shirts, a Bible, a few textbooks, his diploma, and $1.65, he had little more than a dream and a simple faith in following God's call. Against all odds, he succeeded in creating a school to educate the sons and daughters of impoverished sharecroppers: The Piney Woods Country Life School. Now, exactly 100 years later, Dr. Jones' inspiring story and enduring legacy are finally celebrated on film.


Awards
Narrative and Documentary Competitions will be presented in the following juried categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short and Audience Choice Award. In addition films shot and/or produced in New Mexico will be up for the Best New Mexican Film Award. Erudite Digital will be sponsoring the awards and will be presenting each filmmaker with a production package with Erudite Digital. Each winner will receive receive 75% off of a CineAlta HDC-F950 Camera Package or 75% off of the Final Cut Pro HD Uncompressed Editing System.

Tickets for the 2010 Festival: Festival all access passes can be purchased online at www.wsiff.com or by calling 877-345-6973

Single movie tickets are $8 and can be purchased the day of the screening at the WSIFF Box Office located in the Allen Theatres Cineport 10 lobby.

Box Office Hours are Thursday April 15th 5pm-7:30pm. Friday, April 15th 8:30am-7:30pm, Saturday, April 16th, April 15th 8:30am-7:30pm, and Sunday, April 15th 8:30am-7:30pm,