RiverRun Film Festival released its 2014 lineup for the film festival, which runs April 4-13.
With 145 films from 33 countries shown over 10 days, the festival is best experienced as a treasure hunt. Forget about the buzz surrounding a particular movie or budding director; the way to go is to follow your gut interest and whims.
There taut foreign thrillers, beloved classics and dusty obscurities, and documentaries about every imaginable subject.
Many of the films, such as Joe (see above) are made by people with North Carolina connections. UNC School of the Arts alum David Gordon directs this film starring Nicolas Cage.
If You Build It is among the films whose subject is tied to the state. Directed by Patrick Creadon, the film chronicles a design project led by two teachers at a Bertie County high school in eastern North Carolina. The engineering aspect of the story is only a metaphor for the struggle to instill hope in a place where unemployment, poverty and inertia have stunted young people’s dreams.
Three short films also tell North Carolina stories.
Jonathan Michels has chronicled the Occupy movement and the history of the Local 22 union in Winston-Salem, and now he turns his attention to Moral Monday with It’s Monday and the South Is Rising. The Doll Dilemma concerns an extraordinary collection inherited by Jo Maeder, a successful DJ who returned to Oak Ridge to care for her aging mother. And Mipso in Japan tracks the North Carolina band’s campaign of musical evangelization.
Other films don’t have so much to do with North Carolina, but who cares?
The forthcoming Musickland concerns Adam Musick, a musician who falls short of glory in his first run, retreats to hog farming in Virginia and returns to his art with a new clarity.
Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, a 2013 documentary feature, tracks the arc of a black writer from rural Georgia who made an extraordinary mark on 20th-century literature and ran into the buzz-saw of rejection at the very height of her renown. A natural pairing is The Color Purple, the feature film based on Walker’s novel.
See the full list of films on deck at RiverRun this year.