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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Inaugural Film Fest Tucson to screen historical movies anyone will appreciate


    (Courtesy Film Fest Tucson) Still from “American Fable,” one of the many films that will be shown at Film Fest Tucson this year. Film Fest Tucson will take place this Thursday through Sunday.

    Tucson’s historic film community will showcase old films, new technology and screenings of 18 different feature narrative and documentary films at the Inaugural Film Fest Tucson this Thursday through Sunday.

    Film Fest Tucson’s director, Herb Stratford, has worked for the past year to put together this new volunteer-organized, four-day event. Stratford has been involved in the Tucson film community since the 1990s when he led the restoration of Fox Tucson Theatre, and he has returned to reinvigorate it once again after spending some years with the Napa Valley Film Festival.

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    “The programming is different from other Tucson festivals, which target a niche audience,” Stratford said. “We don’t have any one kind of focus. The goal is to celebrate new independent films that are being created and may not have an opportunity to screen … and to also continue to shine a light on Arizona’s film history.”

    Films have been made in Tucson since film began to grow into the Hollywood structure we all know now. Film Fest Tucson will show what Stratford calls heritage films: black and white silent films which will have live music accompaniment from local Tucson jazz and symphony artists.

    The film “Beast” will make its U.S. premier at Film Fest Tucson following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. One of the film’s writers, Will Jaymes, who attended the UA himself for a year, will visit along with the film.

    There will be two free events this weekend, including a panel with award-winning sound mixer Gary Rizzo. Rizzo works as a re-recording mixer at Skywalker Sound and worked with Christopher Nolan on “Interstellar,” “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” and “Suicide Squad.”

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    The second free event is focused on the work of UA English professor Jennifer Jenkins. She will present “Celluloid Pueblo,” a celebration of the work by Western Ways, which shared images of Tucson in the 1930s and 1940s. Through “Celluloid,” Jenkins hopes to win over the rest of the world with the charm of the Southwest.

    The entire weekend will be full of celebrating the Old Pueblo’s visual history while simultaneously being hosted in a historic location.

    “The [Tucson] Scottish Rite Cathedral is a masonic building,” Stratford said. “The rooms we will be using for screenings are still in use by the masonic order. We will be using these three historic rooms, giving a survey of our film stretching back to the 1920s while utilizing laser projectors, which is the newest technology.”

    The film screenings are $10 each and festival passes are available for $150. Stratford hopes to draw locals and non-locals to the festival, but notes the festival also has a lot to offer to students who are interested.

    “It’s a great opportunity to meet industry people and to see films you wouldn’t necessarily see otherwise,” Stratford said. “With such a wide range of shorts and various films screening, we’re going to have something for everyone.”

    Follow Gretchyn Kaylor on Twitter.

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