Marfa Film Festival May 5 - 9, 2010


Marfa is a serene and isolated place in far west Texas that has steadily become a shining bastion of the arts. The small town is slowly losing its anonymity as more and more people discover it’s charming retro vibe and its growing number of art related events and festivals.

One of these attractions is The Third Annual Marfa Film Festival which will be held May 5-9. For five days, over 50 entries will be screened at the Crowley Theatre and under the big bright stars of Marfa’s night sky at Liz Lambert’s latest lodging concept El Cosmico.

“The moment I heard about the Marfa Film Festival was the moment I knew that I wanted to play there,” said Chris Brown, a filmmaker whose new film, “Fannie, Annie & Danny,” will have its Texas premiere at the Marfa Film Festival. “Marfa is this vibrant, cool, unconventional young festival situated in a stunning, artistic, quintessentially American locale.”

Brown’s film will be screened on May 8 at the Crowley Theatre, it deals with a seemingly white bread all-American family’s Christmas dinner. The film slowly reveals the flaws and utter cruelty of some of the family members.

“Personally, I don’t make universal films. I make specific films. “Fanny, Annie & Danny” isn’t for everyone,” Brown said. “Some people love it, some hate it, some think it’s hilarious, others have found it devastating. This is exciting to me, vital, in fact. And I’m just so grateful that Marfa has invited us to be a part of the festival.”

The MFF began in 2008, it is celebration of the art of film and good storytelling and serves as another, much needed, outlet for creative new talent working in film that have yet to land that big opportunity.

Brown said communal, public venues are scarce for young filmmakers.

“Unless a festival programmer says “yes,” my films don’t get seen. It’s really that simple,” Brown said. “Marfa is giving our films life. Marfa is championing work that has never been seen before, it’s boldly telling the world, ‘you need to see this!’”

Nathan Christ, another young filmmaker, will be holding the world premiere of his film, “Echotone,” on Friday, May 7 at the MFF. Christ’s film documents a number of bands from Austin, Tx who share their thoughts on the commercializing of their home town and their music.

Christ said after visiting Marfa and meeting the people who run the festival he knew he had to hold the premiere of his film at the fest.

“There’s obviously a true passion for the craft of filmmaking. It’s in Texas, but a world away from Austin, where our film Echotone takes place,” Christ said. “While I’m excited about the film playing all over the world, I love the idea of the community that will pour into Marfa over that weekend.”

Jason Marlow will screen his first film, “The Big Bends,” at the festival on May 8 at the Crowley Theatre. It is an emotional short narrative about a bitter lonely man’s chance encounter with a young and pregnant illegal immigrant couple.

Marlow said that as the festival grows there will naturally be increased attention on the MFF.

“I see the festival as not only a great venue, but really focusing on that experiential quality of the time you spend there. They are creating an environment,” Marlow said. “When you get a bunch of people together that are doing what they love to do and are having a good time, there is bound to be a response. I think we’re all kind of curious as to [how it] might affect the industry, and we’d like to be a part of that impact.”

The fest has even attracted the attention of rock’s poet laureate, Lou Reed. The former Velvet Underground frontman will screen his film “Red Shirley” on Sunday, May 9 at the Crowley Theatre. Reed’s film is about himself having an intriguing chat with his cousin Shirley on the eve of her 100th birthday.

Albeit it is still an event in its infancy, the Marfa Film Festival has the approval of young filmmakers and fans of film and is destined for growth and acclaim.

“This will be my first time there but, from what I hear, it is still a small, boutique festival with a lot of industry and news credibility,” Christ said. “While people flock from all over the country to attend, it is still small enough to be primarily about the art and filmmakers, as opposed to the market. Hopefully it continues to grow and be recognized as an international curator and tastemaker.”

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