HDFF: Recappin' with CT | Rock Candy

HDFF: Recappin' with CT

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  • Lark Dennis

Our favorite metal screamer/film buff CT filed this dispatch from the Hot Springs Documentary Film Fest last weekend. He'll be back again this weekend, too.

Last Saturday started off early as Lark (my photographer) and I were making our way into our first film at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. “Garbage Dreams” was our first stop. As we were making our way, Shaleece Hass, the director of “Old People Driving” urged us to see her film instead. “Garbage Dreams” had already begun, so thankfully we were able to catch her two films. Both were short documentaries and both had great characters. In “Old People Driving”, we watched two older male drivers, ages 97 and 99, dealing with a new day and age for automobiles. This documentary was awesome! Most of us curse older drivers, but the film puts you in these two drivers’ shoes. I got to see two different views on older drivers. The film was simple and perfect.

Next up, “Bowling Blind,” directed by Marc Contone, follows a blind bowling league in New York City. The characters in the film are so lovable, you wanted to know more about them. The folks in the league can actually bowl! One bowler in particular, Bobby Cantone was a cabaret guitar player when he was younger. He also bragged about the women he’d “been with”. He never stops flirting during the film. Both directors were present for the screenings.

The next two shorts were nice and were both in the spirit of dance. “Keep Dancing” by Greg Vander Veer had some amazing shots. I was looking for this dude to know his stuff. The film is about two professional dancers in their 90s, who have chosen to rent out a dance space and continue to dance at their age. At age thirteen, Marge Champion was the blue print for Snow White. This lady is a total knockout even her age and she’s still got it! “Let Your Feet Do the Talkin’” by Stewart Copeland was so awesome and only lasted thirty minutes. I seriously cried three different times. The film is about a 70-year-old bluegrass buck dancer. The music is very Tennessean and played by real folk. My hat’s off to the film.

“World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements” by Chris Farina was next up. Even though I have anticipated this for some reason, I think I’m not going to like it. Of course I am wrong. The story is about John Hunter, a very open minded 4th grade teacher, from Charlottesville, Virginia. The children in this film steal the show. The charisma of the film is uncanny. It focuses on an eight-week game centered on world peace. The game proves maybe the world would be run better by fourth graders.

“A Good Day to Die” is the film I was been waiting for. It’s about Dennis Banks and the American Indian Movement. Whoa! It was just about as hairy as it sounds. David Mueller and Lynn Salt completely hit a home run with this one. This should be showing on ABC right now! What is so amazing is how Banks is referred to by the media. Any time Banks was interviewed, his name was followed by some form of “ex-con” or “the ex convict”. This man is a true American to be proud of and to look up to. Also a totally cool surprise was ultra-killer-old-school actor Wes Studi was in the film and was present with the director. Studi was in “Dances with Wolves,” “Last of the Mohicans,” and “Mystery Men” to name a few.

The next film up was “Invisible Girlfriend.” Damn what a film! Director David Redmon must have had a crazy time filming this one. The film follows Charles, a forty year old schizophrenic, who is off his meds. He lives with his parents, has fathered children, and Joan of Arc is his girlfriend. No one can see her and Charles is hoping she will take the form of a girl he is friends with from New Orleans. He rides his bike from Monroe, Louisiana to New Orleans (nearly a five hour car drive). The people he meets along the way add more depth to the film. Charles was also present at the screening. He also wouldn’t stop trying to make out with Lark.

OK last film of the night for me! I hadn’t eaten all day and its starting to hurt. “God Willing” was the best film of the day for me. In this film you have a front row seat of what’s going down with the thirty-five year old cult known as “The Church of the Brotherhood.” The director is Evangeline Griego, the aunt of a former Brotherhood member. She goes far beyond the call of duty for this footage. Any parent or family member would be deeply touched. Griego was greeted with a super-warm reception as she was introduced. This was the world debut of “God Willing.” Also present at this debut were parents of former members. When someone joins this cult, you basically never see any loved ones again, unless the member chooses to escape or questions enough to be kicked out. It was a very intense night!


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