Anchorage International Film Festival

F E A T U R E S

special selections

Welcome to the 2008 AIFF. After 40 years of working in the motion picture industry I don't think I've come across anything as challenging as putting on a film festival. This year the stars were aligned as the AIFF brought together a team of top-notch programmers that got to the business of selecting the best entries from the hundreds of submissions. Our management and development team has worked together to bring a higher level of quality and efficiency to our festival and the benefits will be seen as this year's festival progresses, The Bear Tooth is proud to be the

premiere venue for the 2008 AIFF as well as a presenting sponsor. Thanks for being a part of it.

Rand Thornsley

Special Films Programmer and Studio Liaison, AIFF

OPENING NIGHT FILM

Camille

Official Selection

USA - 91 min - Black Comedy - 2008

Director: Gregory Mackenzie

Cast: Sienna Miller, James Franco, David Carradine, Scott Glenn

Young love has rarely been so twisted. Silas has just been blackmailed into marrying Camille. On their honeymoon, an accident leaves Camille deceased and then inexplicably revived, setting the stage for an undead romance as the couple flees from the cops toward the Canadian border.

Friday, December 5, 7:00 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Chinatown

Classic Selection

USA - 131 min - Crime Thriller/Film Noir - 1974

Directed by Roman Polanski

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Towne

A private detective investigating an adultery case stumbles on a scheme of murder that has something to do with water. The film nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning in the category of Best Original Screenplay for Robert Towne in 1991. Chinatown was selected for preservation in the United States National Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Monday, December 8, 8:00 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Dream Boy

Official Selection

USA - 90 min Coming of Age drama - 2007

Directed by James Bolton

Cast: Stephen Bender, Max Roeg

Based on the novel by Jim Grimsley, Dream Boy chronicles the tender romance of two gay adolescents. The emotions the boys cannot deny lead to a brutal reality as they try to navigate through the ghosts of prejudice in the rural south.

Wednesday, December 10, 7:45 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Director James Bolton has confirmed to be in attendance

The Great Escape

Classic Selection

USA - 172 min - War Drama - 1963 - 45th Anniversary Presentation

Directed by John Sturges

Cast: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough

Several hundred Allied POWs plan a mass escape from a German POW camp. Based on a true story, The Great Escape deals with the largest Allied escape attempt from a German POW camp during WWII. The Great Escape is heralded as one of the best war films of all time. Don't miss this screening of a recently struck 35 mm print on the largest screen in Alaska, It will be spectacular!

Wednesday, December 10, 7:45 PM - Fireweed Big Screen Theatre

Mr. Foe (Hallam Foe)

Special Selection

Scotland - 95 min - Drama - 2007

Directed by David Mackenzi

Cast: Jamie Bell, Sophia Miles

Hallam's talent for spying on people reveals his darkest feats and his most peculiar desires. Driven to expose the true cause of his mother's death, he instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city for love.

Tuesday, December 9, 5:30 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Repo: The Genetic Opera

Special Selection

USA - 98 min - Fantasy/Horror/Musical

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Sarah Brightman, Anthony Head, Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega, and Kevin Ogilvie

In the year 2056 – the not so distant future – an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants… for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family’s mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera.

Rating: R, Restricted for strong bloody violence and gore, language, some drug and sexual content. Under 17 must be with a legal-aged adult, children under 12 NOT admitted.

Saturday, December 6, 10:15 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre This is a partnership presentation of the Bear Tooth and AIFF, regular Bear Tooth admission prices apply, AIFF Passholders admitted free.

The Stone Angel

Special Selection - Canada - 118 min - Drama - 2007

Directed by Karl Skogland

Cast: Ellen Burstyn

Getting old isn't for sissies! The witty, irascible and fiercely proud Hagar Shipley escapes from home when her son Marvin and daughter-in-law Doris tell her she must movie into a nursing home.

Tuesday, December 9, 7:45 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

official selections

Wake up and smell the popcorn! Before you is a potpourri of drama, action, comedy, suspense and classic feature-length film for you to enjoy. From art-house to mainstream, these films represent some of the best independent and international cinema that the film industry has to offer. Never before has this much variety been offered to Alaska. You only have 10 days to do it all. Plan wisely, because it won't happen again until AIFF 2009. And thank you for supporting this year's Anchorage International Film Festival.

Tony Sheppard,

Founder and Director of Film Programming

Butterfly Dreaming

USA/Australia • 84 min • Drama/Thriller • 2008

Written & Directed by Rufus Williams

Anxious dreams, paranoia and hallucinations torment a young math professor after the death of his wife. This "who did what to whom" thriller set in the Pacific Northwest has all the intrigue and mystery of a classic episode of Twin Peaks. After the death of his wife in a car accident, Rob (Andrew Bowen) struggles to determine reality from dreams. Bowen's confused, yet pedantic portrayal of Rob allows us to witness what it must be like when a person with a highly functional, technical brain short circuits—but you're never sure if his mental malfunctioning is due to grief or guilt. Filmed in Seattle, Butterfly Dreaming twists and turns through Rob’s madness, addictions and affairs to a shocking conclusion. What truly happened to his wife?

Monday, December 8 at 5:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Bart Got a Room

USA 80 min • Comedy • 2008 • In Competition

Written & Directed by Brian Hecker

William H. Macy co-stars in this fresh comedy about a gawky, Jewish teenager's desperate search for a prom date. Set in a Florida retirement community, Bart is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story about a boy dealing with the divorce of his parents (Macy and Cheryl Hines) and the pressures of adolescence. While his parents independently look for love, Danny goes on his own quest for a date. His search becomes more pathetic when he and his family learn that Bart, the school's biggest dweeb, not only secured a date for the prom, but got a hotel room as well.
Saturday, December 6 at 5:45 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Thursday, December 11 at 7:30 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Carrot Cake Conversations

Singapore • 97 min - English - Romantic Comedy • 2008

Written & Directed by Michael Wang

Four strangers stranded in Singapore before Christmas find companionship over a plate of carrot cake. Kate, a failed American actress, is heading to New Zealand to set up a dream café. Along the way, she meets Daniel, an unhappy businessman, who recently caught his wife cheating on him, Ruth, a prostitute who longs to be Singapore’s first blues singer and Matthew, a wealthy hotelier who has everything except the one thing he wants the most. The film seeks to prove the possibility that a conversation can change everything and that in life, sometimes, all we have to do is talk and listen. A beautiful location and heartfelt acting help bring the multi-layered story to life.
Tuesday, December 9 at 5:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Chronic Town

USA/Alaska - 94 min. - Dark Comedy • 2008 - In Competition

Directed by Tom Hines
Written by Michael Kamsky


Fairbanks; Alaska’s little city by the usually frozen Chena River is the setting for this slice of abnormal life in the Last Frontier. Truman Korovin is a lonely, sharp-witted cab driver. When an acid trip goes sour, Truman winds up in the local “loony bin” for what looks like a suicide attempt. During his stay, Truman spends time with an issue-laden therapy group where he gets re-acquainted with one of his old cab fares, a local stripper named Eleanor. He also befriends Elizabeth, an amusing old lady from the Seniors Home, as part of his therapy. Although his trip to the bin seems like a brief detour in his life, Eleanor and Elizabeth open up a new world to Truman. It might not always be a better world but it’s a new one, and the emotionally detached Truman finds himself right in the middle of it. At a point in his life when Truman was ready to be a spectator, he may just find himself caring enough to get back in the game.

Saturday, December 6 at 7:55 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Friday, December 12 at 5:30 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Coyote

USA • 95 min - Action/Drama • 2007 • In Competition

Written & Directed by Brian Peterson
Producer, Writer & Editor Brett Spackman


The Mexican-American boarder has become a hot zone for controversy. For J and Steve, it’s a way to make money. Best friends forever, they stumble into an opportunity when a Mexican pal, recently deported, needs their help to get back across the border. Surprised at how easy it is to fool the Border Patrol agents in Nogales, the guys see it as a chance to corner the market as the ‘Kinder, Gentler
People Smugglers, aka Coyotes,’ while beating the Minutemen at their own game in the process.
Soon enough, J. and Steve learn the real danger in crossing boundaries. While they are making more
money than ever, the cost appears to be way more than they bargained for and there’s no easy way
out. No matter what your attitude is about our semi-closed borders, this film will intensify your feelings.

Friday, December 12 at 7:45 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Sunday, December 14 at 7:15 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Producer, Writer and Editor Brett Spackman will attend the screenings.

Half-Life

USA • 116 min • Drama • 2008 • In Competition

Written & Directed by Jennifer Phang

In this imaginative, intricate drama, global cataclysms entangle an array of ordinary people confronted by extraordinary circumstance. As natural disasters send the world plunging into chaos, suburbanites in the hills of Northern California discover their lives unraveling. Apocalyptic occurrences set the tone as
suburban single mother Saura Wu gets involved with a man who disrupts her efforts to rebuild her family. Meanwhile, Pam seeks comfort in the arms of Scott, a man coming to terms with his identity as a gay man even as his fundamentalist parents refuse to accept it, and Saura’s son Timothy realizes he has paranormal powers that may alter life for everyone. The precocious boy and his jaded sister use their imaginative powers to escape a confining home-life, save their self-destructive mother from her charmingly manipulative boyfriend, and finally reinvent their world in a mind-bending conclusion.
Saturday, December 13 at 5:30 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Sunday, December 14 at 4:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

How To Be

UK/England • 85 min • 2008 • In Competition

Written & Directed by Oliver Irving
Produced by Justin Kelly


A wry comedy about a frustrated musician undergoing a quarter-life crisis after moving back in with his middle class parents after his girlfriend dumps him. Art’s agoraphobic friend Ronny has his own problems while holed up in a London flat in a daze of nitrous oxide and electro music. Ronny wants to start a band with Art and happy-go-lucky friend Nikki, but only if it involves going no further than the flat’s roof garden. Meanwhile, Art discovers self-help guru Dr. Levi Ellington, author of “It’s Not Your Fault,” and uses inheritance money to pay for the doctor to move in with him and his parents as Art’s full-time life coach. Art’s painfully funny journey to define his life brings to the fore the dysfunctional relationship he has with his parents and the importance of his oddball friends.

Wednesday, December 10 at 5:30 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Friday, December 12 at 7:30 PM - Fireweed Theatre

The Moon And Other Lovers (Der Mond Und Andere Liebhaber)

Germany 101 min • English Subtitles • Drama

Written & Directed by Bernd Böhlich

Hanna is a woman who will not take life’s setbacks and knock downs sitting down. Instead, she takes them in full stride, picks herself up and marches onward despite harrowing circumstances. Whatever losses and uncertainties come her way, she remains true to herself. As life and politics change around her, principally the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, Hanna battles on. She has many problems; one is named Knuti, who is in love with Hanna, but she loves her freedom and life and longs for something more. Then Hanna meets Ganzar, and her world becomes an everlasting paradise. Time doesn't stop, but luck and love are finally on her side. But this love is too good to be true. Ganzar is married, and as suddenly as he appeared, he vanishes. Hanna is devastated. No love, no life, sad memories, but as long as Hanna lives, she finds a way to go on.

Monday, December 8 at 7:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Sunday, December 14 at 2:30 PM - Fireweed Theatre

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Offside (Imp edimento)

Brazil - 85 min • English Subtitles • Comedy Drama

Written & Directed by Joffre Silva

A butcher living in the Brazilian countryside tries to live his adolescent soccer fantasy through his youngest son until a new teacher moves into town and gives him another shot at love. This romantic comedy set in the fictional town of Queluz de Minas plays with the idea of the offside rule in soccer. In life as in sport, we run up against barriers, sometimes invisible to us. Offside is about dreaming both through the daydreams that allow us to set goals and the nightmares that paralyze us. Circumstances can impede us and the clock can run out, but there's always a chance we'll get back in the game just in time to see our goal is for the taking.

Tuesday, December 11 at 5:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Saturday, December 13 at 2:35 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Only

Canada • 74 min - Drama

Directed by Ingrid Veninger & Simon Reynolds

12 year-old Daniel (Jacob Switzer) has a lot of time on his hands. Although he is supposed to help his parents run a motel in a small Northern Ontario town, something always seems to distract or divert him. Most of the time, he's found crashing in one of the rooms, breaking stuff or trying to avoid the kids from
town, who see Daniel as a means of getting booze for their parties. On one surreptitious trip to the pool, he is startled by the sight of someone floating face down. That someone is Vera (Elena Hudgins Lyle), a girl his own age whose parents are going through a nasty separation. Like Daniel, Vera has been left to her own.

Sunday, December 14 at 3:15 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Director Ingrid Veninger is scheduled to attend this screening.

The Project

USA/NYC • 82 min • Drama

Written & Directed by Ryan Piotrowicz

"When people have a stake in their society, they want to protect that society. When they don't, they unconsciously want to destroy it." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1964. Shot in a documentary format, this narrative feature tells the story of documentary filmmakers doing a project about cops and kids in Brooklyn. Superb editing with a music video style travels into the shadows of bridges and housing projects. The story's filmmakers keep their cameras rolling, freeing the film of some of the usual feature film constraints. First time feature director Ryan Piotrowicz has crafted a competent and fascinating film. The weird mix of narrative and documentary styles could easily have fallen apart in less capable hands. Kudos, Slamdance - this is precisely the type of first effort this festival has built a reputation on unearthing. The film was reviewed by Elliot V. Kotek during the 2008 Slamdance festival.

Sunday, December 7 at 7:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Friday, December 12 at 5:45 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Writer and Director Ryan Piotrowicz is scheduled to attend this screening.

Resurrection County

USA • 95 min • Horror

Directed by Matt Zettell. Produced by Mike Hart
Written by James Cotten & Matt Yeager


If you enjoy intense terror and blood boiling nervous anxiety, don’t miss Resurrection County! A warning to outsiders: when traveling through Resurrection County, watch your step and mind the signs. One false move could be your last. When four suburbanite campers roll into the backwoods southern town of Enoch, they find that southern hospitality still exists, as long as you mind the road signs. Things are not what they appear to be as a weekend camping trip turns disturbingly deadly. The locals are all too happy to serve up their own brand of eye for an eye justice! A pulse pounding, take no prisoners descent into neo southern gothic horror.

Thursday, December 11 at 9:45 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Friday, December 12 at 9:30 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Skid Marks

USA • 85 min • Comedy

Directed by Karl Kozak
Written by Don J. Rearden

"Skid Marks features more unfunny dick jokes than you would have thought could fit into one film." - Dayna Papaleo, Anchorage Press

The film’s writer is a professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Don Rearden has written three independently produced films, won several writing awards, and hopes to one day have a screenplay produced and filmed in Alaska. A hardcore comedy about softcore medics, Skid Marks is the hilarious tale of two rival ambulance companies and their misfit medics; the Bayside Ambulatory Life Services (B.A.L.S) team and the Downtown Intensive Care (D.I.C.) Unit. When budget cuts strike their quiet town of Bayside, it’s clear one ambulance unit must go. Now with their egos and beer money on the line, these below-average EMT’s (emergency medical technicians) are about to prove they’ll stop at nothing to save their patients, their jobs and their alter egos. Hold on to your seat cushions and hide your meds, as the heroes of Skid Marks penetrate a theater near you.
Wednesday, December 10 at 9:40 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Sky In December

Japan • 80 min • English Subtitles • Drama

Written & Directed by Hiroshi

Just let yourself feel what you feel when you’re watching the images. What each individual feels inside is everything. I can’t express my films in words. - Hiroshi Toda Zenko, an old fortune-teller, has one dream that everyone is protected by the amulets he makes. Once in a while people stop at his stall to ask for advice or help finding things. Some memorable customers are a strange, camera loving girl, couples in love and a sweet-hearted young punk named Yabuta, who is trying to be a loan shark. At the end of
each visit, Zenko gives them his amulets and wishes them good luck. Then comes Nagaoka, an old
man who is devastated by the recent loss of his wife. With the help of Nagaoka and Zenko, he finds
money and something precious.

Sunday, December 7 at 3:15 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Thursday, December 11 at 8:00 PM - Fireweed Theatre

Streetsweeper

Australia • 77 min • 2007 • Arthouse • WINNER - Jury Prize, Best Feature Film

Directed by Neil Mansfield

Produced by Toby Ralph

“A true independent film with a genuine poetic and artistic flair. Bold & uncompromising. A visually stunning, meditative journey.” – Director’s Choice  

Keith is an unshaven 40-year old man with long hair who starts his day swimming naked in the ocean before sunrise. Then he puts on his work clothes and prepares for the long day ahead. Keith is a street sweeper. With a buggy loaded with bags, brooms and personal belongings he works day in and day out.

Sporting a clownish dab of sunscreen on his nose, this unique street cleaner pays extra special attention to zebra crossings. And as the day wears on, Keith’s street sweeping routine becomes increasingly irregular. He collects found notes, listens to lost voices, and is prone to idiosyncratic but insightful bouts of bittersweet poetry. He rambles on and vents hard but lyrical thoughts about living a lonely forgotten life on the margins of Australian society. The longer the street sweeper walks and talks the more enigmatic he becomes. Worker. Clown. Poet. Spirit. He is the city.
Saturday, December 6 at 2:30 PM - Anchorage Museum

Wednesday, December 10 at 8:00 PM - Anchorage Museum

Encore screening, Saturday, December 13 at 8:00 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Director Neil Mansfield is scheduled to attend the screenings

Vanaja

India • 111 min • English Subtitles • Drama

Written & Directed by Rajnesh Domalpalli & Latha R. Domalapalli

An exotic cinematic splendor set in rural South India, a place where social barriers are built stronger than fort walls. This film explores the chasm that divides classes as a young girl struggles to come of age. Vanaja (Mamatha Bhukya) is the 14-year old daughter of a poor, low caste fisherman, struggling
with dwindling catches and mounting debt. When a sooth-sayer predicts that she will be a great dancer, she goes to work in the house of the local landlady, in hopes of learning Kuchipudi dance while earning a keep. Her vivacious ways and spunk soon catch the landlady’s eye. It isn’t long before Vanaja gets herself invited to play a game of ashta chamma against Rama Devi. Seeing that losing isn’t the landlady’s forte, Vanaja deliberately gives up her game – a fact that doesn’t go unnoticed – and which eventually secures her the landlady’s mentorship, first in music, then in dance. Vanaja excels and seems to be on a steadily ascending path until she meets a handsome, muscular and rather insecure young man, who has returned from the U.S. to run for local politics. She is pitched into a tale of class, family and animus from which there is only one escape.

Monday, December 8 at 5:30 PM - Bear Tooth Theatre

Saturday, December 13 at 4:30 PM - Fireweed Theatre


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