Posts Tagged ‘movies’

REDCAT International Children’s Festival

Published February 24, 2010 by Graham

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Here’s a problem: of the relatively tiny number of independent and foreign films that find distribution each year, an even tinier number of those are intended for children.

Here’s a partial solution: the annual REDCAT International Children’s Festival helps expose the work of filmmakers and animators who believe that kids deserve more than the standard cookie-cutter fare. There are artists in Iran, Sweden, Brazil, and Burkina Faso making rad entertainment for kids, and because of this festival, their films are available to you and the budding cinéaste in your life from the comfort of a theater in downtown Los Angeles.

If you live in the area and are lucky enough to know an imaginative kid, take a trip to REDCAT this week and blow that kid’s mind! The festival runs February 27 – March 7th.

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The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

Published May 27, 2009 by Graham

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Jesco White: unparalleled tap dancer, charismatic Elvis impersonator and notorious criminal, was first introduced to the public through the PBS documentary Dancing Outlaw in 1991– a sort of testosterone-fueled, rebel yelling Grey Gardens. Like the Beales, the Whites were a family living on the fringes of society, dazzling audiences with their outrageous lifestyles. Transformed by the film into a cult phenomenon, Jesco toured the nation in the early 90’s and ended up tap dancing on the set of Roseanne (as seen in Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood) before disappearing from the public eye.

Nearly two decades later, producer Johnny Knoxville has returned to the iconoclastic White family in The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, finding them in a state of utterly exhilarating, free-flowing anarchy that would put the Jackass crew to shame. Providing a close-up look at the White family’s vile charm, the film examines their tendency to pass their dancing skills– along with their drug problems– on to each successive generation. If that weren’t enough for you, it’s got original songs and commentary from the freewheeling Hank Williams III. Check out the trailer, and then watch the following comically optimistic news report about Jesco White from 1994:

Paperhouse

Published May 11, 2009 by Graham

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Paperhouse is a cinematic anomaly: neither purely horror nor child-oriented fantasy, it’s an unnervingly creepy late-80s British film about an artistic mono-afflicted schoolgirl whose imaginary world comes to life. Subtracting the obligatory elements of magical thinking, Paperhouse is simply a movie about a girl who draws a bunch and then falls asleep and has some weird dreams about her drawings. Which is awesome. We need more movies like that. But Paperhouse isn’t mere whimsical mindtrip—it’s an examination of complex childhood emotions, a subtle koan about the delicacy of relationships with parents, friends and figures of authority. Check out a segment from early on in the film, in which our heroine hangs out at an abandoned train station, discussing “snogging” with her classmate, and then unexpectedly enters the internal world that she’s created in her drawings: