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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Film, music fest forges ahead

    The seventh annual Tucson Film and Music Festival kicks off this weekend.

    More than 4,000 attendees will gather in Tucson for this multi-day event, which brings together the past, present and future of the Tucson and Southwest film and music scenes. The event showcases movies, short films and documentaries, but also boasts a musical element. The festival celebrates films that are musically driven and also hosts live musical performances.

    The festival starts Thursday and lasts until Monday. It will screen dozens of films, including 15 submissions from UA film school graduates and local filmmakers.

    Michael Toubassi, the festival director, is a Tucson native who wrote, directed and produced multiple documentaries and short independent films including “Going Back to Tucson.” Toubassi said he likes to let others get in on the fun of festivals.

    “The energy is electrifying — you have the chance to see films before most people, often with the filmmakers in attendance,” Toubassi said. “It’s about being a part of an extended community and getting great entertainment value for the cost.”

    The festival also holds question and answer sessions, in which the audience has the rare opportunity to interact with attending filmmakers, actors and documentary subjects.

    Toubassi said he was also proud of the festival because it provides a chance to see movies that would otherwise not play in Tucson theaters. He was excited to provide opportunities for UA students and alumni.

    For example, the Tucson Film and Music Festival will host the world premiere of “Shine From the Valley,” a student-faculty collaboration. This music video by Mitzi Cowell was inspired by the shooting on Jan. 8., which killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

    Among the varied offerings at this festival is the headliner of this year’s festival, “Barbershop Punk,” a documentary feature which will premiere for the first time in Arizona on Thursday. Written and directed by Georgia Archer, associate director of “The Real World,” this documentary tells the true story of an average man who unearths the secrets of the Internet and discovers that large corporations are slowing down our connections to certain websites and activities, thus limiting our free exchange of information. The film highlights crucial subjects of net neutrality, free information in cyberspace and the power to challenge the status quo.

    Other world premieres will follow, including “Made a Machine by Describing the Landscape” and “Songs of the Colorado.” The festival will also premiere “Bloodied But Unbowed,” a Southwest film that highlights life in the punk scene. This production chronicles the rise and fall of punk in Vancouver, B.C., during the 1970s and early 1980s.

    As for music in the festival, The Hut on Fourth Avenue will host live musical performances from Tucson’s own Fish Karma, the “legendary” Al Perry and Skip Heller, Ghiant, and local indie band The Pork Torta on Saturday and Sunday night. An event called Music Video-Rama will also provide a mix of animation, short films, and music videos playing at 20th Century El Con Theater on Sunday.

    Altogether, the festival is sure to be a unique experience for all kinds of film and music lovers.

    “It’s a diverse collection of fantastic films,” Toubassi said. “We’re excited to share them with attendees.”

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