Posts tagged ‘CineVegas’

CineVegas announces 2009 dates, gets Shorts-sighted

November 14th, 2008

CineVegas logo

You might think it’s a little soon for us to be discussing the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival, given that it’s June 11 start is still seven months away. But if you’re an aspiring filmmaker, you might think differently, as submissions for the 11th annual fest are being accepted from Dec. 1, 2008 to March 1, 2009.

With cash prizes totaling $14,000 awarded to select film categories and previous winners going on to festival circuit fame and grandiose distribution deals, CineVegas is the perfect launch platform for your Scorcese-like epic. But act soon, because the competition is fierce.

“2008 was a record-breaking year for CineVegas, as the Festival received the most submissions in its history,” said Trevor Groth, artistic director for the festival. “I know that 2009 will also break records, not just in the number of submissions we receive, but in the quality of films that we are seeing.”

If you fall into that category of “the next Quentin Tarantino,” then you’ll want to click on over to, where festival submissions for CineVegas are being handled. Submissions received by Jan. 15 will be eligible for an early bird discount – and hey, every penny counts these days.

In related CineVegas news, the festival recently re-launched its CineVegas Shorts Online microsite, where some of the best shorts from the 2002 to 2006 festivals can now be viewed at Perfect for those of you looking for something to watch while you eat that tuna sandwich at your desk.

Neon Outlook: Atmosphere, Filter and ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’

September 24th, 2008

Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley
Bruce Campbell plays an aged Elvis Presley in Bubba Ho-Tep.

Get your weekend started on a funky note with Atmosphere, Blueprint and Abstract Rude at House of Blues Las Vegas inside the Mandalay Bay on Friday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m.

Sunday night, Sept. 28, check out folk-rock quintet Modern Subject and Brit-pop-infused Los Angeles band The Idyllist at The Beatles Revolution Lounge inside the Mirage at 10 p.m.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, Filter resurfaces at Wasted Space inside the Hard Rock Hotel. The show is at 10 p.m. and cover is $20.

And for you bizarre indie film buffs, the free “CineVegas From the Vault” screening series continues at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) with a showing of Bubba Ho-Tep on Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The movie stars Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy living their advanced years in a run-down Texas nursing home. Good times.

Neon Outlook: Vegas week in preview, post-Labor Day

September 3rd, 2008

Whew kids. Is Labor Day Weekend over? Given I am back in front of my computer and not doing it up at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music and arts festival, I guess it is. But just because the big holiday weekend is over doesn’t mean that the week forthcoming is anything to sneeze at. Evidence:

Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.) is hosting a preview opening for its newest exhibition, “Escape Hatch,” by Boulder City denizen Biscuit Street Preacher, on Thursday, Sept. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. We love his work. You should too.

If independent films are more your style, perhaps you’ll want to check out a free screening of Breakfast with Hunter, a documentary about the late Hunter S. Thompson, showing at Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4.

Friday, Sept. 5, is First Friday, of course, and while you’re downtown in the Arts District pretending to check out art, maybe you should wander over to the Commerce Street Studios for the opening of “Spiritual Geometry (the Awakening)” at MTZC (1551 S. Commerce St.) at 6 p.m. This show features collaborative and solo works of Teresa M. Williams and gallery owner Mark T. Zeilman.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, Brooklyn-based dance crew The Dynasty Rockers brings its funky, “uprock” style to the Aruba Hotel and Spa (1215 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) for a stop on its 35th anniversary tour. Things kick off with a barbeque by the pool at noon, the main event from 4 to 9 p.m. in the hotel’s Thunderbird Lounge, and then an Afro-Latino electric soul after-party from our homies in the Kilowatt crew starting at 11 p.m.

CineVegas names new managing director

August 5th, 2008

Anita NelvingThe CineVegas Film Festival lost one of its most visible figures over the last few years when Managing Director Ian Jankelowitz departed Las Vegas to pursue his MBA at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. But have no fear, fans of the world’s most dangerous film festival – a new managing director has been found, and she’s a gem!

Anita Nelving will be overseeing all festival departments for the annual CineVegas Film Festival along with the year-round events presented by CineVegas. Nelving’s job will also entail some boring stuff such as budgets, networking and branding. Currently the director of public relations for Cirque Du Soleil Resident Shows in Las Vegas, Nelving will join CineVegas officially on Sept. 2, but will still make sure Criss Angel’s new Cirque show, Believe, gets off the ground.

“We are thrilled to have someone with Anita’s experience join the CineVegas team,” said CineVegas Artistic Director Trevor Groth. “Her many years with Cirque du Soleil have made her an invaluable asset not just to the city of Las Vegas, but internationally, as she has helped spread the importance of art and culture around the world.”

CineVegas wraps up with awards, parties, honors

June 22nd, 2008

Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Clark Gregg
Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston and Clark Gregg pose on the red carpet at the CineVegas Honorees Reception on Friday night. (Photos by Erik Kabik)

A stagnant heat permeated the CineVegas Honorees Reception on Friday night at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino pool, but that didn’t stop the Hollywood powerhouse honorees from getting dolled up and posing under the harsh lights of the red carpet.

In attendance were those receiving honors — Anjelica Huston (Marquee Award), Don Cheadle, Rosario Dawson, Viggo Mortensen, Sam Rockwell (Half-Life Awards) and James Caan (Vegas Icon Award) — as well as other such talents as Choke director Clark Gregg, Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall and Iron Man actress Leslie Bibb.

With the conclusion of the CineVegas film festival — capped off with dual parties at the Palazzo pool and ghostbar in the Palms — the full list of awards for the festival’s films was announced Saturday. Major winners include She Unfolds by Day (Grand Jury Prize), Dark Streets and Your Name Here (Special Jury Awards), Año uña (Year of the Nail) (La Próxima Ola Jury Prize), Beautiful Losers (Documentary Jury Award), Hi My Name is Ryan (Special Documentary Jury Award), Lost in the Fog (Documentary Audience Award) and Visioneers (Dramatic Audience Award). (more…)

UNLV film school brats face off at annual CineVegas showcase

June 18th, 2008

UNLV showcase
Scenes from UNLV’s shorts: Clockwise, from top left: Are You Sleeping, Brother John, 48 Hours – The Mockumentary, Don’t Spill the Beans, Thin Walls.

It’s tough enough being a student at UNLV in general – looming budget cuts, bottom-ranked football team, questionably valued degrees – but for UNLV Department of Film majors, it’s perhaps even tougher. I mean, what famed director ever talks about their education at UNLV? USC, UCLA, The New School, sure — but Tumbleweed Tech? Not so much.

However, that’s not to say these kids don’t try. The highlight of their year for the film school, one must assume, is the UNLV Showcase at the CineVegas Film Festival, where the top shorts by UNLV’s film students get their time in the (potentially) international spotlight on a big screen at The Palms’ Brenden Theaters. Of course, there is typically barely any room for the outside world even to get a look at these mini-movies, as seats tend to be filled with hundreds of the filmmakers’ friends, family and crews.

But I digress. This year’s showcase seemed to offer less memorable offerings than the 2007 version, though the general production values seem overall better. Sitting through the two-hour cavalcade of amateur filmmaking was, at times, alternatively tedious, joyful, tear inducing boring and enjoyable. Though the student filmmakers should be applauded for their efforts no matter what, that doesn’t mean we’re going to go easy on ‘em all. Here’s the lowdown on the 15 shorts through which I endured last night: (more…)

‘Chelsea on the Rocks’ – best served stirred, not shaken

June 16th, 2008

Bijou Phillps and Abel Ferrara
Abel Ferrara directs Bijou Phillps as Nancy Spungen in a scene from Chelsea on the Rocks.

Day 4 of the 10th annual CineVegas Film Festival (day 2 for us here) saw the usual bizarre mix of filmmakers, press and tourists swarming the Palms on Sunday. I believe I’ve said it here (or somewhere before), but it’s a bit surreal for such a high-profile film festival to be held (mostly) at cinemas located not only within a casino property but abutting a food court, from which the red carpet is located no more than 10 feet. Hence you get a scene like the one yesterday afternoon, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson making a red carpet appearance as gawkers abandoned the snack bar and Panda Express counters to applaud or snap photos of the wrestler-cum-actor with their phones.

I was there not to match raised eyebrow with The Rock but to check out a screening of one of two Abel Ferrara entries in this year’s festival, Chelsea on the Rocks. It’s a documentary about New York’s famous (infamous?) Chelsea Hotel, temporary home to untold numbers of artists, actors, filmmakers, poets and even some plain ol’ ordinary folk over the many decades of its existence, which sees its future in question under new ownership and new management. The casual conversations between Ferrara and various past and present residents of the Chelsea — including Milos Forman, Ethan Hawke and Robert Crumb — would have made for an engaging movie on their own, as well as the atmospheric scenes of the lobby and neighboring businesses that evoke the collective vibe of the property.

But Ferrara intersperses the interviews with unnecessary recreations/imaginings of “famous” situations at the Chelsea, such as Nancy Spungen’s mysterious death and drug overdose-inducing partying by Janis Joplin. Those vignettes, combined with time-killing transitional elements, extend the film about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be, and take away from the colorful, intimate anecdotes that really should be the meat of the film. Overall, it’s an intriguing look at a New York institution, but it’s a bit dizzying with its distractions. The audience’s own ambiguity toward the film may have been evident in the stalled, subdued applause rendered Chelsea in comparison to the enthusiastic reception given to its preceding short, To Kill an American, an inspiring, three-minute short by actor-turned-director Matthew Modine.

Ferrara could not attend the screening, but here’s Chelsea on the Rocks producer Jen Gatien introducing the film:

VEGASinsight finally gears up for CineVegas X

June 14th, 2008

CineVegas X

Yes, I know CineVegas Film Festival started on Thursday, June 12. I know this because I was supposed to review the opening-night film, The Rocker, and attend the CineVegas 10th Anniversary bash the following night at Palms Place. But thanks to our prolonged spring here in Las Vegas this year (typically we’re already in the 100s by now), my season-changing cold came about a month late, which of course coincided with the start of CineVegas.

Well, I’m still not at 100 percent, but I did manage to get down to the CineVegas Headquarters inside The Palms this afternoon to pick up my press credentials and put in ticket requests for the rest of the week’s screenings (not all of them, mind you — just select films in which I had interest). I probably won’t get rolling on the action until tomorrow, but hang tight as I’ll be dropping in reports more often throughout the week including reviews, celeb spotting and other nonsense. Sadly, I won’t be reviewing Choke, the new film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, because I was informed today it’s sold out. Sigh … that’s what I get for being sick.

Either way, I won’t be wanting for comfort during my time at The Palms, as CineVegas has set up a pretty sweet lounge for its volunteers, staff and media members, complete with complimentary Red Bull, multiple TVs, comfy couches, sponsor magazines and a ping pong table:

CineVegas lounge

CineVegas X honors Huston, Caan

May 27th, 2008

Rosario Dawson, Don Cheadle
Don, we can’t take our eyes off Rosario either.

Can you feel it in the air? No, we don’t mean the encroaching heat. We’re talking that rare, popcorn-smell-tainted buzz that comes to Las Vegas every June for the last 10 years: the CineVegas Film Festival.

Yes, kids, it’s the 10th edition already of the ever-growing film festival, which – much like all other major Vegas festivals and conferences – is really just an excuse to throw awesome parties for a week. But we digress; CineVegas – held this year from June 12 to 21 – affords locals one of the few opportunities to check out the latest in cutting-edge filmmaking from around the world and our own backyard.

Jackpot Premieres this time around include Big Heart City, Dark Streets and South of Heaven. There will be shorts programs featuring both Nevada filmmakers and UNLV auteurs. And one of the rare features of CineVegas, Le Próxima Ola — featuring groundbreaking Hispanic film making — returns once again. (more…)

Free movies at the library? Win!

April 22nd, 2008

The Talent Given Us
We’re not sure that this is a scene from The Talent Given Us, but it was in the press kit, so who are we to not use it?

Three things we love: Free movies, free air conditioning and the library. You know where we’re going with that lead, right? Because we’ve used this gimmick before. And we’ll do it again!

The CineVegas From the Vault series continues at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) with three CineVegas celluloid alumni presented for free at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month throughout the warmer months, save for June when the 10th Annual CineVegas Film Festival takes over the Palms for a few weeks.

Things kick off on May 1 with 5th World, a 2005 festival feature that traces the contours of burgeoning love between two Navajo students while exploring how tribal culture shades their bond in powerful ways. After the 2008 festival, the series returns on July 3 with 2004’s Malachance, which follows a troubled man from New Orleans as he moves to New York and takes on a new identity. And finally, 2004’s Grand Jury Prize winner, The Talent Given Us, plays on Aug. 7. This festival favorite tells the story of a family forced to come together after making a cross-country trip to track down their absent brother.