This month’s Artist Spotlight pays tribute to one of Paducah’s premiere artistic events: the River’s Edge International Film Festival, which will be taking place in just a couple of weeks.
The rapidly increasing visual and performing arts scene is making Paducah one of the cultural Mecca’s of the South. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Paducah Film Society’s independent film festival has developed into a full-fledged International Film Festival. The River’s Edge International Film Festival (REIFF) brings the best new independent films to our arts-oriented river town, offering a veritable cornucopia of artistic gems.
Take a South African road trip with Bunny Chow. Meet 3 quirky modern-day knights and travel with them to Afghanistan, Chechnya, Rwanda and further, providing hope to the hopeless. For 28 quick little minutes, follow your bliss while Standing on a Whale, then hit the campus of a Southern College as a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. goes up amid a bit of tension.
Get involved in politics in the Big Apple. Deliberate the fate of the death, or in this case, The Life Penalty a la Law and Order. Hike Europe in someone else’s shoes. Do some street racing in the UK. Search for magic in Salt Creek County. Meet a couple of modern-day Zeligs. Then disappear altogether.
All this and so much more for less than the cost of a round of drinks at Cynthia’s!
The River's Edge Film Festival is a four day event, featuring quality independent films from around the world. Six daring souls poured over hundreds of movies to sort out the films with the “freshest ideas, the most compelling stories, or a general relevance that makes the film necessary to see, whether it is artistic, historic, political or newsworthy” says Paul Lorenz, the Festival’s co-director and Chairman of the Selection Committee. “It’s a lot of work for a few intrepid volunteers, dedicated to the ongoing success of the Festival.”
But that hard work is paying off – the REIFF is in it’s 4th year and is growing in attendance, reputation and most importantly, a higher quality of film submissions, which is the real key to any film festival’s longevity and success.
For theater lovers and film buffs, the REIFF offers a variety of quality independent films at multiple venues, including Maiden Alley Cinema, Market House Theatre and Yeiser Art Center, which are all within walking distance of one another in charming Downtown. Forget about American Idol – THIS is what everyone will be talking about! The best story, the most stunning visuals, the most profound conflicts – you won’t be able to talk about them if you miss the Festival.
And it isn’t just for the hoi polloi of the city – movies can be enjoyed by everyone and are more affordable than symphony or Carson Center show tickets. As far as film as an art form, it easily has the widest appeal.
Who doesn’t love going to the movies? There is nothing like spending an afternoon in a cool, darkened theater, disappearing from life for a few magical moments. And what makes the River’s Edge International Film Festival particularly captivating is knowing that these movies are NOT the usual mass-production Hollywood fluff for the masses, but present a whole different perspective on perhaps more subtle societies, quiet cultures and unsung civilizations. These are movies that the world at large has not yet seen and may never see. Which speaks not only to the greatness of the REIFF, but also to the exclusivity that we, the oh-so-fortunate audience, get to enjoy and luxuriate in for at least these four miraculous days.
Kicking off with a free film screening and party on Thursday night (8/14) at Maiden Alley Cinema, the festival runs throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information on tickets and the festival schedule, visit www.riversedgefilmfestival.com.
by Erica Moore