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Breckenridge Film Festival shifts into high gear

BRECKENRIDGE-The 22nd annual Breckenridge Festival of Film rolls out the red carpet for Jon Favreau, who was scheduled to attend last year’s festival, until the events of Sept. 11, 2001, grounded flights.Last year’s festival may have been subdued, but this year it’s back – bigger and better than ever.”We’ve managed to put on essentially a bigger festival than we planned on last year due to local support of the community, such as in-kind donations and larger grants from the town of Breckenridge and The Summit Foundation,” said Suzanne Burke, executive director of the festival.In addition to artsy independent films and mainstream premieres, the festival presents three new programs, designed to appeal to all tastes. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Film Series celebrates diversity through film. The Women in Film series reviews the history and the present state of the industry. The CU Boulder Film Program salutes the works of Hollywood Maestro Billy Wilder.—Celebrating diversity”The primary reason for creating the GLBT program is that it celebrates human diversity through the wonder of cinematic arts,” said GLBT series coordinator Frank Accosta. “The number of quality films portraying these subject matters is no longer confined to the celluloid closet, rather boldly making an artist contribution to mainstream cinema.”The series features “Julian’s Journey,” a documentary about former Methodist minister Julian Rush, who, after being kicked out of his church for being gay, formed the Colorado AIDS Project; “Monkey’s Mask,” starring Kelly McGillis and Susie Porter, about a bisexual and a lesbian investigating the disappearance of a young girl; “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a movie starring John Cameron Mitchell based on the Broadway play by the same name; “All Over the Guy,” an unlikely love story; and “Beefcake,” a very funny cult classic Accosta expects to sell out. Rush and Lawnie Gold will attend a question-and-answer session after “Julian’s Journey.””(This series) gives people an opportunity to see films that they might not ordinarily see,” Accosta said. “I just want to expose all people to these types of films. There’s some people in Summit County who are cool with it, and there’s some people in Summit County who are not. We’re hoping that some of the folks who aren’t so cool with it will come and check it out. It’s just like exposing yourself to a foreign film. It’s all about acceptance. We’re breaking new ground here.””Through the art of celluloid, we can provide the freedom of expression in an open venue that promotes tolerance and acceptance,” Burke said. “Freedom of expression through art influences change and progression in society.”The series begins at 7:30 p.m. today and continues at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Breckenridge Town Hall.—Women in a male-dominated industryThe Women in Film lecture series features Deborah Ann Hemela, Martha Elcan, Nancie Araki and Ann Lukacs discussing the state of the industry and throwing in a few war stories about being a women in the field at 4:30 p.m. today and Saturday at Beaver Run Resort.”Not very long ago, to join a camera union, you had to take an oath, and part of it was to say, “I solemly swear on my honor as a man,'” said Lukacs, who was the first woman in the Chicago local union. “It’s still not the norm to see women and minorities in the industry.”The women will discuss their experiences, offer encouragement and answer questions. They also will talk about technical aspects, such as how various departments view a specific film scene and how to move a project from concept to reality.”There’s been some dynamite women in the industry, and this is a way to showcase them,” she said.Hemela was a line producer for “The Star Trek Adventure” tour and the executive director for Landmark Entertainment. She published “Debbie’s Book,” which has become a well-respected directory of suppliers for the entertainment industry.Elcan has spent more than 15 years as an assistant director working on such films as “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Mystic Pizza.” Her strong production and directorial experience offer a valuable perspective for filmmakers. She is also a featured independent filmmaker at this year’s festival with “The Hit.”Araki has worked for all of the major studios and has received an Emmy for “Mad About You … The Surprise.”Lukacs is a Breckenridge resident whose credits include “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Blues Brothers” and “The Laramie Project.” She has directed commercials and is currently working on a documentary following professional bareback riders through the rodeo circuit.—A salute to WilderThe CU Boulder Film Program honors Billy Wilder, who died this year, with “Sunset Boulevard” and “Some Like It Hot.”Wilder was born in 1906 in the old Austria-Hungary Empire and ended up in Hollywood in the 1930s by escaping Hitler’s imminent march across Europe.He won six Oscars for producing, writing and directing “The Lost Weekend” and “The Apartment.” He’s well-known for his screwball comedy, classic film noir, drama and smart, snappy dialogue.”Sunset Boulevard” tells the story of an aging, forgotten, silent-movie star and her murderous encounter with a young, ambitious writer who moves into her house. Set in Hollywood, the movie is a satirical critique of the decline of classical cinema. Parental guidance is suggested. The free film plays at 2 p.m. today at Beaver Run Resort.In 2000, the American Film Institute declared “Some Like It Hot” the funniest movie ever made. The film is a collection of sexual innuendos and double entendres that pass for something harmless. It tells the story of two musicians who escape mob assassins by dressing in drag and joining an all-female band. Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star in the movie. Parental guidance is suggested. The free film plays at 2 p.m. Saturday at Beaver Run Resort.—The stars come out in BreckenridgeJon Favreau transformed his experience as an aspiring actor and a Los Angeles clubgoer into the story of a group of Rat Pack-obsessed, out-of-work actors slumming through L.A. in the movie, “Swingers.” He also appeared on “Friends” and starred in “Very Bad Things.”Raised in Queens, N.Y., he headed to Chicago to pursue a comedy career. Then Chris Farley’s performances with Second City inspired Favreau to pursue acting. He scored his first success as the shy, overweight friend of Sean Astin’s aspiring football player “Rudy” in 1993.He starred as a football player in “The Replacements” in 2000 and returned to the independent film scene with “Love & Sex,” a take on urban romance, and “Made,” a crime comedy about aspiring mobsters.Up-and-coming actress Jane McGregor, who stars in the premiere film “Slap Her, She’s French,” also will attend the festival.”She has quite a lot coming up on the docket,” Burke said. “She’s the next Reese Weatherspoon.”—Premiere and independent filmsThe festival features eight premieres, including “Barbershop,” “Moonlight Mile,” “Frida,” “Shanghai Ghetto,” “Igby Goes Down,” “Banger Sisters,” “Skins” and “Slap Her, She’s French.” (See film reviews by Jeffrey Lyons C3.)About 30 independent films round out the festival, and 20 filmmakers will attend the screenings to comment on their work. (See independent film caps C5.)”The independent films have really taken a step up,” said Jen Radueg, public relations director at the Breckenridge Resort Chamber. “They have a couple big name celebrities in them – everyone from Ice Cube to Susan Sarandon.”—The party sceneThe festival wouldn’t be complete without its renowned parties, and this year, it offers parties to suit everyone’s tastes.Today’s Freaky Friday dancing and mingling scene at 10 p.m. at the Liquid Lounge will ease any Friday the 13th superstitions. The cover is $5.Saturday, enjoy the smooth sounds of the Dado Sa Trio while sipping cosmos, appletinis, chocolatinis and more at the Smirnoff martini party at the Blue River Bistro at 10 p.m. A cover charge at the door applies.The last chance to meet festival participants occurs at 9 p.m. Sunday at Pug Ryan’s wrap-up party.—TicketsA star pass, available only at the Riverwalk Center for $85, includes admission to all films. Otherwise, all premieres are $10 each, and independent films are $8.A special VHS viewing of the winners of the independent film categories, from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, costs $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and youth.The all-day indie ticket allows admission to daytime viewing of the independent films shown at Town Hall (without filmmakers’ commentary) for $20. Films run back-to-back from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday.The Women in Film Series, outdoor celebrity forums, family programs, screenplay seminar and CU Film Series are free.Tickets to films may be purchased at the Riverwalk Center Box Office up to one hour prior to a film’s showing or by calling (970) 547-3100.Films represent a wide variety of subject matter, genre and theme. Every attempt will be made to classify the subject matter in the program notes.Schedules are subject to change. For the latest information, visit 229 S. Main St. in Breckenridge for hot sheets and a synopsis of movies. For more information, visit http://www.breckfilmfest.com.


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