Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival is well underway, and if the first two nights are any indicator, it’s going to be a great weekend for passholders and guests alike.
The guests of honor – Judge Reinhold and Wes Studi – made their first appearances Thursday night. Reinhold introduced viewers to one of his favorite but lesser-known films, “Enid Was Sleeping,” at the Durango Arts Center. Studi was the center of attention at the Native American Film Reception at Sorrel Sky Gallery. Through the Academy of Arts and Sciences, both men regularly volunteer their time at small and midsize film festivals nationwide.
In a sit-down interview Thursday with the Herald and 4CornersTV.com at the Leland House hotel, Reinhold said seeing Studi again (both men live near Santa Fe) will be one of the highlights of his weekend. Studi stars in “The Only Good Indian,” which Reinhold said was on his can’t-miss list of films he’ll be seeing this weekend.
“I love Wes, and I’ve known him for years, and he’s just one of my favorite actors,” Reinhold said.
Reinhold singled out Durango Film for its inclusion of Native American films.
“It’s so important, and there are so many stories to tell, and they’re some of the best storytellers in the world,” he said.
There’s no question that the key word in Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival is “independent.” Many of the 26 visiting filmmakers met with festival staff members and volunteers Wednesday at the kickoff party at The Palace restaurant before the traditional Free Movie Night officially started the 2014 festival.
This weekend’s highlights will include Reinhold’s introduction and Q&A session for “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” which will be shown tonight at Animas City Theatre. Among the many behind-the-scenes stories he’ll relate is that the role fell to him because a young Nic Coppola (Cage) was just a bit too young for the role of Brad Hamilton.
“He was only 17, so there was a limit to how many hours he could work,” Reinhold said.
Also on the weekend schedule is a pared-down but quality lineup of panels Saturday at the Durango Arts Center. Studi will attend “Lying to Tell the Truth,” which will be followed by a workshop geared for young filmmakers and then another by the Santa Fe University of Art & Design. That’s all mingled among 44 separate screening sessions of feature films, documentaries and short programs at Animas City Theatre and Gaslight Cinema.
The awards for the festival, some of which are chosen by a select panel of jurors and six others by audiences, will be handed out at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Henry Strater Theatre. The fact that the Academy Awards will be handed out at about the same time was not lost on Durango Film Executive Director Joanie Fraughton.
We’re going to give out as many as we can before the Oscars start and then keep going during the commercials,” Fraughton said. “It’ll be a joint awards ceremony and Oscar party.”