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I'll be up front with you: there's nothing that displeases me more than having to write about films I've yet to see. A film's magic should reveal itself on screen petal by petal, not in a blurb, blog post, or catalog description.

You'll never catch me skimming a review of a film that's soon to open. Entering the auditorium a blank slate is the only way to go. Tell me who directed it, the MPAA rating (always pray for an R), name a couple of the featured players, mention the genre, and by all means provide a running time. That's all I need to know.

Kudos the ArtPower! Film Curator Rebecca Webb for putting together a series of films containing only one that I've seen, Bob Balaban's delightful cannibal comedy, Parents (1989) It stars Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, and Sandy Dennis. Parents is rated R and has a running time of 81 minutes.

Inasmuch as only one of the titles has caught my critical gaze, I find it wise to let the festival program notes do the talking. Click for more information.

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Arab Spring Diptych

This diptych series explores film as a political tool and a mirror of Arabic society. Through these films and panel discussions, our aim is to show some of the societal changes that can occur through film and how a new generation of filmmakers continues to play a decisive role in this process. The diptych includes Tahrir (France/Italy), a film that introduces us to young Egyptians who finally express everything they were forbidden to say out loud until now. A collaborative documentary film project, 18 Days in Egypt (Egypt/USA) captures the events of the revolution in an interactive website that co-creators Jigar Mehta and Yasmin Elayat will present to ArtPower! audiences.

Berlin Perspektive

While attending the highly regarded Berlinale Film Festival this past February, ArtPower! Film Curator Rebecca Webb became intrigued with two films that pushed the boundaries of cinema through technological experimentation and observation. In whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir, we follow the observations and surveillance of a geophysicist code writer stuck in a futuristic city. The experimental fiction runs endlessly–editing live in real time–with no beginning, middle or end, and never repeating the same way twice. In Bestiaire (Canada), we witness a bewitching meditation on the nature of sentience and the boundaries between nature and civilization.

Foovies [Food + Movie]

ArtPower! Film brings back tasty fare from the 2012 Berlinale Festival to UC San Diego, with themes of food and family explored in this duet of culinary cinema. In the documentary Entre Les Bras (France), we learn about extraordinary dishes prepared by a father and a son in the hilly landscape of the Aubrac region. In the feature film Canela (Mexico), we witness the struggle of family bonds, friendship, and cooking secrets.

Horror

Join ArtPower! Film for three nights of supernatural cinema. We start off with a free outdoor screening of the odd-tasting tale, Parents, directed by the quirky character actor Bob Balaban. Next up is the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. This two-day fun/fear festival guest curated by Miguel Rodriguez, founder of the festival, explores what 20th century horror author HP Lovecraft said is “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind.” From horror shorts to full-length features, we explore horror in art and cinema, and examine how these films mirror the fears of society at particular points in time.

Special Screenings

ArtPower! Film highlights a whole new dimension of cinema with two special screenings accompanied by live music and puppetry. In Nortec Collective: Bostich & Fussible (Mexico), the timeless camp of Reefer Madness is balanced by genuine mystery and drama in Iron Fist, the 1927 tale of a young couple locked into a damning world of vice. The Tijuana-based electronica specialists retool a live soundtrack for the film by blending traditional Mexican music with contemporary beats. The Animal Cracker Conspiracy will push the boundaries of live performance with The Collector, a mysterious tale about a lowly debt collector who undergoes a radical transformation of spirit. Performed with toy theatre, tabletop puppets, stop motion animation, and film, the story unfolds as you are drawn into this Orwellian, neo-Victorian world.

Up&Coming Student Filmmaker

The Up&Coming Student Filmmaker program fosters the talents of student filmmakers with pre-festival workshops, competitions, and networking events designed to assist emerging artists so they can refine their skills and knowledge to be the Next Big Thing in film. This year, we are expanding the Up&Coming Film Student Festival to include two days of student and alumni films.

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