BY RICHARD HERSKOWITZ — The 19th annual film festival, scheduled for April 16-20, is beginning to take shape. Of the 835 films that have come in so far, as of late December, only 50 films haven’t been previewed by at least two screeners.
For the past few weeks (while you’ve been vacationing!), I’ve been immersed in viewing and have looked at well over 100 films. Shorts programmers John Stadelman and Aura Johnson brought me their top recommendations, and they are both pressing me to schedule more shorts programs this year, because the quality is so strong.
Thus far, I have identified 20 documentary and 5 narrative features I want to include, more than usual by this time of year. There is a Mexican production, with a U.S. co-producer, that knocked me out with its visual vitality and its depiction of a musical subculture I knew nothing about. This year, because we decided to expand our competition beyond U.S.-produced films to films produced anywhere in the Americas, this one will be a strong contender for jury and audience awards.
It’s hard keeping quiet about the films that are exciting me, but starting next month, I’ll share highlights of our selections with Screener readers before our March 24 Preview Night. Stay tuned!