I LOVE our Cinetopia film program. Every single film – even the ones I haven’t seen! I think it’s our strongest program yet. But we know there’s a lot of data to sift through, and making choices can be daunting. So here are my picks for my top six (I couldn’t limit it to five) films playing during the festival:

  • ATTILA MARCEL: I loooooved The Triplets of Belleville, so when I saw that this was the first live-action feature by that film’s director, Sylvain Chomet, I was immediately sold. Quirky and bizarre, it’s a must watch for fans of Amelie.
  • HELLION: There’s no better word for this film than “heartbreaking.” Josh Wiggins is fantastic as a teenager struggling to raise his younger brother as his father (played by Aaron Paul) self-medicates to cope with the death of his wife.  Set in the heat of a rural Texas summer, the film will have you simultaneously in chills AND sweating.
  • LIFE FEELS GOOD: This Polish film tells the story of a young man with cerebral palsy who struggles to communicate.  It’s alternately witty and devastating, but ultimately life-affirming as Mateusz (played brilliantly by Kamil Tkcaz and Dawid Ogrodnik) finds his way through the world.
  • OJ: THE MUSICAL: This one’s pretty inappropriate, but I love a good mockumentary… and this  is a GREAT mockumentary. Everyone knows that local kid who goes to New York and struggles  to make it; OJ: The Musical reminds us what happens when he really, REALLY doesn’t make it.
  • THE SUBLIME AND BEAUTIFUL: Two months after seeing this at the Cleveland Film Festival, I can’t stop thinking about it; writer/director/producer/lead actor Blake Robbins has crafted a brilliant, complicated, gut-wrenching film about a father’s grief in the wake of a horrible tragedy.
  • TO BE TAKEI: Oh myyyyyy! (c’mon, I had to use it) This documentary is just delightful. George Takei is such a charmer, and his life is absolutely fascinating – it’s a light-hearted look at one of Hollywood’s most enduring characters.

But that’s just six of our 50 films – so buy a pass, clear the weekend of June 4-8, and take a chance at Cinetopia – you just might discover a gem.

See you soon!

Amanda Bynum, Festival Manager

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