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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Festival offers a glimpse of Sundance

    Festival offers a glimpse of  Sundance

    The Loft Cinema has hosted 12-hour Scream-o-Ramas and 48-hour film shootouts, but tomorrow marks a first for Tucson’s famous indie theater. The first annual Loft Film Fest, an eight-day marathon of 21 special screenings that span nations and decades, kicks off with a 7 p.m. premiere that represents the culmination of over a year of planning.

    For Jeff Yanc, the Loft’s program director of five years, this festival has been a long-time coming. “”I’ve wanted to do a festival for a long time. This year all the forces came together,”” he said.

    One of the forces that the Loft was missing in the past was the guidance and networking skills of a festival veteran. About a year ago, the Loft filled the void with Mike Plante, a former Tucsonan and current nation-trotting programmer who helped secure films and guest presenters for festivals like Sundance and CineVegas.

    With Plante on board, the Loft has spent the past year seeking out unusual films and filmmakers to fill out a week’s worth of festival programming. They pulled films from Sundance and Telluride, many of which lacked distribution deals and could only be shown in a festival setting. They assembled tributes to famous Tucsonans like Lee Marvin. They even tracked down the makers of “”Heavy Metal Parking Lot,”” a favorite at the Loft’s First Friday Shorts.

    For Yanc, the eclectic program “”encompasses all aspects of films already at the Loft.”” Independent, foreign, cult classics and restored film legends are all represented, and bolstered by a cast of actors and filmmakers including Bobcat Goldthwait (“”The Man Show,”” “”World’s Greatest Dad””) and Chris Eyre (“”Smoke Signals””).

    At $200 for non-members, admission to the whole fest isn’t for the average student. Individual screenings are priced at $10, and seats are going fast. For the week of the festival only, the Loft obtained a hard liquor license and tequila sponsor. For some, that might be enough of a draw.

    Following are a few events worth checking out. For tickets and the festival’s complete schedule, visit

    “”Heavy Metal Parking Lot””

    Featuring filmmakers Jeff Krulik and John Heyn

    Saturday, 10:30 p.m.

    It’s an hour before showtime, and the air is crisp with booze and bong smoke. You can hear the kids in the next spot over arguing about who kicks more ass: the Scorpions or Judas Priest? Stand tall in the back of your pickup truck and survey the moving mosaic of leopard-print leotards and enough black T-shirts to outfit a Hot Topic franchise. It’s 1986, and you are ready to rock. Jeff Krulik and John Heyn kick off a nationwide tour for the 25th anniversary of their cult documentary “”Heavy Metal Parking Lot”” at the Loft this Saturday, complete with excerpts from sequels “”Neil Diamond Parking Lot”” and “”Harry Potter Parking Lot.”” You may not have been around for the ’80s, but by God, dude, you’ll wish you had been.

    “”Metropolis”” (2010 Restoration)

    Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

    Fritz Lang’s silent-era classic is standard fare for media arts and German studies students, but it is also a stylized sci-fi powerhouse way ahead of its time. Padded with new footage discovered in a Buenos Aires film library in 2008, the print is “”the most complete version of the film since its 1927 premiere,”” according to Yanc. At 147 minutes, this restoration will immerse you in a world of robot vixens and industrial tyranny, whether you like it or not.

    “”The Big Red One””

    Featuring Robert Carradine and Pamela Marvin

    Thursday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.

    The festival closes with a tribute to the late Lee Marvin, a Hollywood heavy-hitter and one-time Tucsonan. The Loft celebrates with the extended version of Samuel Fuller’s WWII classic, “”The Big Red One,”” featuring Marvin in what many consider to be his greatest role, the Sergeant. Marvin’s wife Pamela and co-star Robert Carradine (“”Revenge of the Nerds”” I, II and III) will be in attendance for a Q&A after the film.

    Straight to Hell Returns

    Featuring director Alex Cox

    Saturday 7:30 p.m.

    A decade before “”From Dusk Till Dawn,”” another gore-filled, star-powered spaghetti western spoof ruled the badlands. Alex Cox’s “”Straight to Hell”” follows four bank robbers who try to stash their score in a not-so-deserted desert town and all the sex, violence and musical interludes that follow. Cox’s 1986 original has been revamped for a less squeamish generation, featuring plenty of “”added violence and cruelty,”” Yanc promises. If that doesn’t pique your prurient interests, the cast might. Joe Strummer, Dennis Hopper, Elvis Costello, Jim Jarmusch, The Pogues and Courtney Love all make the trip to hell and back growth.

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