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The Daily Wildcat


    Glimpses of Sundance

    Amy Phelps
    Amy Phelps / The Daily Wildcat The Loft Cinema movie theatre is hosting its fourth annual Loft Film Fest on November 7-11. The film festival screens foreign, independent, and classic films with the goal of showcasing emerging directors, writers, producers, and actors.

    This weekend is shaping up to be one of the busiest for Tucson’s only arthouse cinema.

    The Loft Cinema will host its annual Loft Film Fest this weekend, with dozens of films on tap that can’t be found in large theater franchises, in an effort that gives Tucson access to some of this year’s most diverse films.

    This marks the festival’s fourth year, said Jeff Yanc, the festival’s co-director, adding that roughly 3,100 hundred patrons attended last year and that he’s confident that at least as many people will attend this year. His optimism, he said, comes from the quality of this year’s films.

    “I think we get better films every year,” Yanc said. “I think this is our strongest lineup, this year, in terms of films.”

    As co-director of the Loft Film Fest, Yanc traveled as far as the Sundance Film Festival to see the films beforehand, in order to help hand-pick those to be screened this weekend. Yanc said he had a very specific idea in mind when looking for films.

    “The two words that I would most often use to describe it are ‘diverse’ and ‘eclectic,’ so that’s what we’re looking for,” Yanc said. “We want a broad range of film so that there’s not too many films of the same kind at the festival.”

    Among the more than 30 films on the agenda this weekend are “Dear Mr. Watterson,” a documentary about the man behind the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes”; “Willow Creek,” a “Blair Witch Project”-esque horror about the search for Bigfoot; and “Faust,” a telling of the classic tale of a man who sold his soul to the devil.

    One of the titles featured at the festival is the documentary “Tatanka,” which was directed and shot by Jacob Bricca, an assistant professor in the UA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television. The subject of the documentary is Bricca’s father, Kit, who was an activist in the Bay Area in the 1960s. While others grew up and moved on from the peace movement, Kit remained steadfast, and even changed his name to “Tatanka.”

    “Tatanka” will be Bricca’s second feature-length film, with his first being the 2006 “Indies Under Fire,” a documentary focusing on the plight of independent bookstores. He has also directed multiple shorts and has been editing films professionally since 1998, but “Tatanka” gave him an opportunity that none of his other work could, he said.

    “I finally got to ask some questions of my dad that I had never really had the courage to … before,” Bricca said. “For better or for worse, it was the film that pushed me to do that.”

    Bricca assumed his position at the UA in August; though he’s new to the community, he said he has gathered a sense of what The Loft offers.

    “It also sort of makes you feel like you’re part of some kind of a community and some kind of a larger conversation,” he said. “You can sense that there are other people around who are film lovers.”

    While “Tatanka” was a documentary about an activist of the flower child generation, “Winter in the Blood” is the fictional story of a young Blackfoot Indian, Virgil First Raise. Waking up hungover in a ditch, the title character sees his long-dead father frozen at his feet. This is just the beginning of the increasingly haunting journey to find his wife, whom he discovers has left him, taking Virgil’s rifle with her.

    The film’s director, Alex Smith, is a UA alumnus, and star Chaske Spencer is the Native American actor who played Sam Uley in “The Twilight Saga” films. Both will be at the festival for a question and answer session following the screening.

    The film is presented by the Arizona State Museum’s Native Eyes Film Showcase, which was started in 2004 with the intent of expanding the representation of Native American culture. Lisa Falk, director of education at Arizona State Museum and director of the Native Eyes Film Showcase, expands upon the showcase’s goal.

    “It’s to provide a venue for narrative voice,” she said. “All the films we show, for the most part, are produced or directed by or written by Native peoples.”

    Both Bricca and Falk have commented about the types of dialogues that film can encourage. According to Yanc, this is exactly the type of environment that The Loft aims to create with the festival.

    “One thing that we really want the festival to be is, I think, films that you really want to see with other people,” Yanc said.

    Follow Alex Guyton @TDWildcatFilm

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