Omaha, NE—The Omaha Film Festival today announces the line-up of films selected for the Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, and OFF the Edge Feature Competitions for the 2009 Omaha Film Festival. The Omaha Film Festival sets out to deliver a fresh and innovative cinema arts experience through the exhibition of independent film and the growth of the festival's film education program. In the words of Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, “the Omaha Film Festival is quickly becoming a staple of Omaha's developing cultural identity, and we hope it will continue to grow for many years to come.” Additionally, thirty-six short films and five out-of-competition feature films will be announced shortly. A complete list of films and show times will be available at www.omahafilmfestival.org.
The Omaha Film Festival will take place February 23rd through March 1st, 2009 in Omaha, NE. Kicking off the festival will be a two-day Filmmaking Conference on February 21st and 22nd at Creighton University and the Omaha Community Playhouse. Panelists for the conference to be announced by early February. For the 2009 Omaha Film Festival, 10 Narrative Feature Films, 6 Documentary Feature Films, and 3 OFF the Edge films were selected from over 400 entries submitted from 22 countries, and the selected films will screen from February 23rd through March 1st at the Great Escape Stadium 16 Theatres at 7440 Crown Point Avenue.
Tickets are currently available online at www.omahafilmfestival.org and available at the various venues during the festival.
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
A Deal is A Deal
Sad-sack London Underground driver Paul (Mackenzie Crook) has had two people commit suicide beneath his train in a week. When he learns that a third within in a month would result in a handsome pension, he goes looking. Enter depressed Tommy (veteran Colm Meaney) who agrees to a deal. Or does he?
Directed by Jonathan Gershfield. Cast: Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Imelda Staunton, Gemma Arterton
A Line in the Sand
A homeless man's personal hell is further complicated after he spends a night in jail for urinating on the Mayor's limo. Three jaded NY detectives find compassion within themselves as they piece together his tragic emotional descent into insanity. His dark secret stuns the detectives. As the details of Banzai's life slowly emerge they realize that his life is more complicated than it appears. They learn that Banzai is a fugitive with a dark past as a drug dealer. His fall from grace as an all star high school quarterback to a man on the run makes them examine their own personal beliefs of right and wrong. They judge for themselves whether Banzai is suffering in a hell far worse than imprisonment.
Directed by Jeffrey Chernov. Cast: Jon Bernthal, Bruce McGill, Mark Nassar, Charles Malik Whitfield, Elizabeth Rodriguez, John Getz
Writer-director Rob Margolies' debut feature bristles with smart dialogue, complex characters, and heart wrenching performances. Set against the backdrop of suburban utopia, the Bernstein family leads a dysfunctional existence. With three foul-mouthed kids (Robbie Sublett, Dreama Walker, and Jacob Kogan), a caffeine-addict mother (Jane Adams) on the brink, and a less than forthcoming father (Josh Pais), they suffer an atmosphere so heavy with collective hostility and tension it seems as if the floral-papered walls will come crashing down at any minute. Forced to the breaking point, they concede to a family therapy session, where it quickly becomes clear that what's at stake is "about a lot more than dry turkey." Repressed anger and antagonism give way to moments of self-revelation, as a patient and compassionate Dr. Livingston (Joe Morton) draws out demons and dark secrets, allowing the family to start accepting their own humanity. Brutally hilarious, warmly intimate, always honest, "Lifelines" is an impressively fresh take on the family drama.
Directed by Rob Margolies. Cast: Joe Morton, Jane Adams, Josh Pais, Jacob Kogan, Robbie Sublett, Dreama Walker
Lightbulb is a serious comedy about two friends, a small-time inventor and a fast-talking salesman who deal with mishaps and failed inventions before coming up with a product that becomes a worldwide phenomenon. Lightbulb is a story about hope and persistence in the face of hard times.
Directed by Jeffrey Balsmeyer. Cast: Dallas Roberts, Jeremy Renner, Ayelet Zurer
Sonny Liston, the controversial former world heavyweight boxing champion is brought back to vivid life by actor Ving Rhames. From his discovery by a priest while serving time at the Missouri State Penitentiary to the infamous 'Phantom Punch' by Cassius Clay which effectively ended his career, the movie spans the years from 1950 to Liston's mysterious and untimely death in 1971.
Directed by Robert Townsend. Cast: Bridgette Wilson, Nicholas Turturro, Stacey Dash, Ving Rhames
With the plug about to be pulled on his late night talk show after a fifteen year run, and his wife engaged in a steamy affair with a pro baseball star, host Jack West is desperate - to keep aflame his fading celebrity, and avenge the misdeeds of his adulterous spouse. With the clock ticking, Jack concocts the mother of all media stunts, killing two birds with one unforgettable stone on the road to redemption. The scheme entangles an eclectic collection of colorful locals navigating their way through unpredictable twists and turns. A plump private eye teams with a macabre webmistress to investigate the strange disappearance of a dead body. A glassy-eyed cheddar head falls prey to a phony get-rich-quick guru. Imperiled actors embark on a quest for a fresh corpse. Cops in costume, a peculiar special effects make-up team, porn stars with dreams of stardom, a Jewish drug lord with very large brothers, Russian mobsters and others converge in this unique roller-coaster ride of comedy, mystery, murder and mayhem through the underbelly of modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.
Directed by Brandon Beckner. Cast: Kevin Nealon, Tom Arnold, Nora Zehetner, Kip Pardue, Evan Peters, Dule Hill, Christopher Titus, Johnny Messner, Whitney Able, Bob Sapp
Say it in Russian
While vacationing in Paris, Andrew meets and falls in love with Daria, a young Russian girl. He ends up following her to Russia, a country that, much like Chicago in the 1930's, is a dangerous environment in political turmoil. Destiny takes its own course, and Andrew and Daria get involved in a hurricane of events surrounding Daria’s father, Raf, a rich Russian mafia oligarch. The cast includes Steven Brand ('The Scorpion King'), in the leading role of Andrew. Cast as Daria is actress Agata Gotova, who makes her U.S. lead role debut. Academy Award Winner Faye Dunaway plays the part of Jacqueline, the elegant Parisian matchmaker who puts the two together. Acclaimed European actor Rade Sherbedgia ('Surface') is cast as Daria's father.
Directed by Jeff Celentano. Cast: Steven Brand, Faye Dunaway, Agata Gotova, Alex Nesic
The Magistical (animated)
Once upon a time a guardian was chosen to watch over all living things. She was called the Magistical. Hoping to preserve all precious life, the Magistical created a spell. This spell granted the last of every type of creature, immortality. However, to one very evil Draken the spell would carry a very different meaning than intended. By killing all other Drakens she would become the last. Without fear of death such a beast could rule the world. Now only one baby cub stands between her and her evil ambitions. And between them stands a small, but determined, obstacle, named Foible.
Directed by John Cernak and Danny Oakley. Cast: Megan Blake, Stanley Bernstein, Ray Collins, Beth Bostic, Lee Strickland, Ashley Summerrow, Gene Johnson, Chirie Dautel, Betsy Hamilton, Derek Cernak
The Thacker Case
A controversial wrongful death suit in a small town is the backdrop to The Thacker Case. When the body of Kevin Thacker is discovered behind the police station after he is brought in for drunk driving, the stories simply don’t add up to the accidental death the police claim. His parents bring a young attorney onto the case to try to find justice for their son. Jun’s feature has a new take on the classic courtroom procedural, mixing in the gritty realism of New Hollywood with a moving family story.
Directed by Lorena David
Touching Home is a coming of age story about a homeless father struggling to make amends with his twin sons as they pursue professional baseball. It is a courageous and honest portrayal of a family fighting to overcome the pain of wasted years and the crushing forces of addiction.
Directed by Logan Miller and Noah Miller. Cast: Ed Harris, Noah Miller, Logan Miller, Brad Dourif, Robert Forster, Lee Meriwether, Evan Jones, Ishiah Benben, Brandon Hansen
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Karearea: the Pine Falcon
Wildlife photographer George Chance spent the 1970's following and studying the New Zealand Falcon; now some thirty years later he is suffering from ill health and going blind. Filmmaker Sandy Crichton gets ever closer to a remarkable wild population of falcons as he attempts to realize George's dream by adding movement to his photographs.
Directed by Sandy Crichton
Food Fight is a fascinating look at how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the California food movement rebelled against big agribusiness to launch the local organic food movement.
Directed by Chris Taylor
The Providence Effect
The Remarkable Story of Chicago's Providence St. Mel. A school in the heart of the inner city where neighborhood kids learn to work hard and dream big. This is a school where 100% of the high school graduates are accepted to four year colleges and universities and where the elementary students read 22 points higher than the state norm.
Directed by Rollin Binzer
Native Americans fight for the survival of their fish and their culture -- against an energy corporation. Their struggle is about to trigger the largest dam removal project in history.
Directed by Ben Kempas
In this charming film, a group of fifth graders in upstate New York stages a performance of The Wizard of Oz. From the daily challenges of being a child to the realization that the end of elementary school might mean the end of youth, the film is a touching window into the lives of five ordinary and extraordinary children. With fantastic use of music, this film draws you in to the story of Joey, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, Isabel, and Nick.
Directed by Rick Velleu and Eddie Rosenstein
A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story
Abandoned in an institution for 44 years, Bill Sackter would never see his family again. Forgotten and alone, his life changed through the help and friendship of a young college student, Barry Marrow and several other caring individuals. With a harmonica, a warm cup of coffee, and an incredible embrace of life, witness Bill’s incredible transformation from neglected individual to a national hero for the disability community. An inspiring real-life documentary about hope, compassion, and the power of friendship.
Directed by Lane Wyrick
OFF THE EDGE FEATURE COMPETITION
Agent 5: A Night in the Last Life Of
A man is lost on a desolate street. He’s not sure how he got there, but he’s got a job to do. Over the long and empty nights he seeks to complete his objectives, all the while haunted by verdant images of a cowboy in the woods. Soon, this odd “agent” discovers he has outlived his use. Desotell’s strikingly shot play on film noir utilizes unique digital imagery and a stark existentialist narrative to turn a melancholy eye on modern society and relationships. Agent 5 is a piece that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.
Directed by Matthew Desotell. Cast: Ryan Burnham
Clear Lake, WI
In 1993, some residents of the small town of Clear Lake, WI fell victim to a strange and horrible disease. An influential preacher blamed the deaths on the heresy and sins of some in the town. A group of 5 former high school students revisit the desolate campus and a three day killing spree ensues.
Directed by Brian Ide. Cast: Michael Madsen, Dustin Booth, Morgan Simpson, Grinnell Morris, Shi Ne Nielson, Carla Toutz, Heather Simpson
A Warning to outsiders. When traveling through Resurrection County, watch your step and mind the signs. One false move out here could be your last. When four suburbanite campers roll into the backwoods southern town of Enoch, they find that southern hospitality still exists. As long as you mind the signs. Things are not what they appear to be as a weekend camping trip turns deadly. The locals are all too happy to serve up their own brand of eye for an eye justice! A pulse pounding, take no prisoners descent into neo southern gothic horror. Resurrection County. There’s a reason things are so quiet here.
Directed by Matt Zettell. Cast: Adam Huss, Robert Miano, Rus Blackwell, Dayton Knoll, Kathryn Michelle, Dan Kruse
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