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Reeling All Over Boise

Film fests invade September

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For local film lovers, the last two weeks of September will be one cinematic outing after another, as Art and Architecture at the Egyptian Theatre, the Manhattan Short Film Festival and the Idaho International Film Festival all flex their artistic muscles within 10 days of one another.

Idaho International Film Festival

Organizers of the Idaho International Film Festival (IIFF) 2006 are even more excited for this year's festival now that the annual event is in its fourth year and has recently been awarded the "Take Pride in Idaho Outstanding Cultural Tourism" prize given by the Idaho Governor's Conference on Recreation and Tourism. Featuring a record 27 films with titles ranging from Lovelorn to The Slaughter to Zombies in Love, this year promises to bring an excellent amalgamation of cinematic entertainment to the City of Trees.

According to Toni Gillette, managing director for IIFF, the festival accepted more submissions this year than in any other. In fact, this year's submission numbers are quite a contrast to the festival's first year, when organizers struggled just to have enough films to show. Gillette says many of the films have an Idaho connection, with many filmed in Idaho or directed by an Idahoan, including a collection of very short films titled Local Heroes: Made in Idaho Short Films. The shorts range from three to 15 minutes in length with a heavy gamut of subject matter including a short titled No Rain written and directed by Craig Evans of the local film company Slainte Films.

On a more international level, Prisoner in Lhasa, a 62-minute documentary directed and produced by Marie Louville, tells the life story of Ngawang Sandrol, a Buddhist nun first jailed in 1990 when she was 11 years old, for expressing her support for freeing Tibet and for the Dalai Lama. Nevenka Mattenet, of the human rights organization, the Dui Hua Foundation, translated the film into English earlier this year after coordinating the U.S. filming, and will be at the festival to present the film. Prisoner in Lhasa is set to premiere as one of two of the first films of the festival on Friday, Sept. 29, at noon. It will be preceded by Devotion and Defiance, a film short detailing increased Communist crackdowns on Buddhism in Tibet.

For Gillete, one of the perks of the film festival is the opportunity to see new and interesting work by filmmakers who would otherwise never have their work shown. "It's a great opportunity to show talent," she says, commenting on how easy it is for even the most amateur of filmmakers to create exemplary work using only a digital camera and software.

The opening night gala for the festival is set for Thursday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. at Bardenay (610 W. Grove St.). The festival wraps up on Sunday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m. at Reef (125 S 6th St.), where spectators can sit, drink and discuss their views on the films presented. For more information visit www.idahofilmfestival.com.

Art and Architecture at the Egyptian

Sponsored by the Idaho Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Hardy Foundation, Art and Architecture at the Egyptian begins on Wednesday, Sept. 20, with six films scheduled to show multiple times throughout the week. Ranging from the familiar Julia Roberts film Mona Lisa Smile to the more obscure My Architect, which depicts the death of world-famous architect Louis Kahn, the film line-up also includes Callas Forever, Basquait, Sketches of Frank Gehry and Jack Nicholson's 1975 The Passenger.

In addition to films, the event also features a lecture series courtesy of the Boise Art Museum (BAM). BAM Interim Director Melanie Fales says Boise is truly blessed to have such a fine selection of presenting architects, including Antoine Predock, recent recipient of the prestigious American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. Predock speaks Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 5:30 at the Egyptian. Other lecturers include Scott J. Tiden, author of Architecture for Art: American Art Museums 1938-2008, who will speak Friday, Sept. 22, at 5:30 p.m. on the creation of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, by Frank Gehry. Rome Prize recipient Will Bruder, architect of the Nevada Museum of Art and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, will also speak on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. All lectures will be held at the Egyptian Theatre.

According to Fales, Art and Architecture is in conjunction with BAM's current Frank Lloyd Wright House Beautiful Exhibition in order to foster a level of architectural awareness in the Boise community.

"One of the goals of the [lecture] series is to introduce the idea of museum architecture in our community for future expansion ideas for BAM in order to serve the growing needs of the Treasure Valley," she says. Though there are no immediate plans for an expansion to BAM, Fales says the series is meant to get Boiseans thinking about the viability of good museum architecture and architecture in general.

For more information on the week's schedule or for tickets, visit www.boiseartmuseum.org or egyptiantheatre.net.

Manhattan Short Film Festival

Boise is just one of 43 U.S. venues screening this year's selections in the annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, which will also show at 29 locations internationally from Sept. 14 through 24. A record 489 short filmmakers from a record 39 countries entered this year's festival. The Flicks of Boise has the honor of serving as host for Boise's screening on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., when 12 finalists will screen their films. "We're excited about being the only place in Idaho that's hosting this," says Carole Skinner, owner of The Flicks, which also played host during last year's screening. Like last year, attendees will vote for the one film they feel should win the event. Festival Director Nicholas Mason said he's not sure if it is the largest short film festival in the word, but it may be the broadest, with screenings in Canada and Europe, and plans to expand into South and Central America for the 2007 festival. "I love the idea that the same evening the festival is screening at the Flicks in Boise, it is also being seen in D.C., Boston, Tucson, Nova Scotia, Prague and Newcastle in the United Kingdom. All these people will be coming together to judge 12 short films in their local cinemas, and that certainly excites me, and most definitely the filmmakers."

The final 12 films include Last Night from Ireland, Cigarette Box from Poland and Offside from Israel. Ticket prices are $8 for general admission. The entire program last about two hours with a 10-minute intermission. Skinner highly encourages the purchase of advance tickets to ensure a seat at the Boise screening.

For more information on the Manhattan Short Film Festival visit www.msfilmfest.com. For tickets call The Flicks at 342-4222.

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