Tuesday, December 09, 2014

AIFF 2014: Tuesday's Offerings Include Ambassador To Bern and The Empty Chair

I can't believe it's only Monday night as I write this.  The weekend was packed with all sorts of interesting events and good films.  So, what about Tuesday?

My Picks
Greg Chaney, Director of The Empty Chair, Sunday

The Ambassador to Bern  and The Empty Chair (Made in Alaska #6)

I saw The Empty Chair Sunday at its world premiere.  It's a great Alaskan documentary that looks at the Japanese-American community living in Juneau when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  Although they were well integrated into the small town (one of the people interviewed said there were about 5000 people), they were all evacuated to internment camps after the attack.  Through interviews with the survivors - both Japanese-Americans and not, the movie paints a picture of a community that worked hard to support their neighbors.  The empty chair in the title refers to a chair on the stage of graduation for John Tanaka, who would have been the valedictorian had he not been sent to an internment camp.  This is a powerful movie that uses interviews with people who were there - including Katie Hurley - and archival footage and photos.  This was a very low budget film and gets my highest ratings on quality per dollar spent.  It captures some Alaska history while the eyewitnesses are still alive.  7pm at the AK Experience Theater Small.

Attila Szász director of Ambassador to Bern
The Ambassador To Bern - I've only seen the trailer, but I did a Skype interview with the director Attila Szasz which I'll get posted later today.  This is an historical feature film.  Based on a true story about two Hungarian immigrants who try to take over the Hungarian embassy in Bern, Switzerland, a couple of months after the Russians crush the 1956 Hungarian revolution.  This one feels like it's going to be good.  It is in competition (as are the other two films at the Bear Tooth tonight.)  5:30pm Bear Tooth

Ambassador to Bern is set to end at 6:46pm, so there is time to get down to the AK Experience in time to get to the 7pm showing of The Empty Chair.  This is a documentary, so if you get there a few minutes late, it will be ok.  For those sticking around at the Bear Tooth, there's over an hour between films.

The Others

You shouldn't dismiss the rest just because these aren't included in "the picks.' I just haven't been able to track everything. I Believe in Unicorns  (8pm Bear Tooth) and Six Bullets To Hell (10 pm Bear Tooth) are both features that are 'in competition.' You can see more about them (and Ambassador) at my post on the features in competition.

Québékoisie- A Canadian documentary.  From festival genius:

Mélanie and Olivier decided to cycle the North Shore of Quebec, Canada, to better understand the complex relationships that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. This quest for identity would push them to travel deep inside themselves and to faraway lands. Their encounters, both planned and spontaneous, include the surprising tale of an Innu man in search of his ancestors in Normandy, and the heart-wrenching story of the sister of Corporal Marcel Lemay, who was killed during the 1990 Oka crisis.
6pm at AK Experience Large

These Hopeless Strangers  - Another Brooklyn film (Monday night's Appropriate Behavior also took place in Brooklyn.)   From Festival Genius:
When big news comes in for the constant bachelor Shawn, he makes it a mission to visit everyone who has shunned him for years. This includes his old friend Greg - a children's musician living in the cozy, domestic confines of Brooklyn. After the two hit some hilarious re-acquainting pains, they soon hit the American road for a trip that will show them the gifts and the costs of real friendship.
8pm at AK Experience Large 

The Making of the Cebra
This is one of the film brought in by the Mexican Consulate. Here's the description from Festival Genius: Mexican filmmaker Fernando León's award-winning film "La Cebra (The Zebra)" will be shown as part of the 2014 AIFF Mexican Consulate Program at the Bear Tooth Theater on December 10. Here's what one critic had to say about The Zebra: "A visually stunning debut by longtime screenwriter Fernando León, The Zebra feels like what might have resulted had Luis Bunuel adapted Homer’s Odyssey and set it in Mexico circa 1915" Come to the inlet Tower hear Sr. León director discuss his film, and then go see La Cebra at the Bear Tooth the following night.  7pm Inlet Towers, 

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