Here are my top 5 from this year’s Cinetopia:
- NO CLUE: This film just happened to fall into my lap as I made my way through the countless screeners and I couldn’t have been happier. It’s a Raymond Chandler mystery with a dash of SCTV and maybe just a pinch of Canadian hospitality. Perhaps the funniest film in the festival, thanks in no small part to the fact that Brent Butt and David Koechner are comedy gold.
- BUZZARD: This Michigan-made film is all killer and no filler (“they” wouldn’t let me use that as the description in the film guide for some reason)! Director Joel Potrykus and star Joshua Burge are a perfect team (perhaps even the new Godard and Anna Karina…or maybe that’s an overstatement…I’ll let you decide!) and their chemistry just oozes off the screen. This film proves that punk rock hasn’t died (yet), it just has been hanging out in Grand Rapids.
- PARIS OR PERISH: A French fashion comedy doesn’t usually scream “BOOK THIS FILM!” to me (I don’t know why), but I can’t help but love it. From the mind of the spectacularly talented Reem Kherici, a French-Tunisian-Italian comedienne and first-time director, this is a film that I hope finds an audience in America because it deserves to be seen.
- THE CASE AGAINST 8: I loved this film at Sundance this year and feel that it’s an important film to show, given the political climate of Michigan right now. But I’m not looking to push an agenda by showing it. I’m hoping to start a conversation (much like we did with After Tiller in 2013) about the reality behind an issue that goes much, much deeper than politics and religion. The Case Against 8 has more heart and grit than any documentary I’ve seen in the past few years and I couldn’t be happier to include it in the festival.
- JINGLE BELL ROCKS!: This Christmas music doc was another happy accident! We can all rattle off the great holiday songs that we drag out every season, but this goes much deeper. Sure Bing Crosby is great and everything, but give me Akim & Teddy Vann’s “Santa Claus is a Black Man” any day of the week!
Have a great Cinetopia, folks!
Brian Hunter, Senior Festival Programmer