Multi-talented actor/writer/director Ethan Hawke and screenings of several films that are likely favorites for this year's Academy Awards are among the highlights of the third annual Cinema Arts Festival Houston, officials announced Monday night at The Grove.
Hawke, an actor on stage and screen (Reality Bites, Before Sunrise, Training Day, Gattaca), director of the movie Chelsea Walls and the stage play Things We Want, and author of well-received novels, The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, will receive the festival's Levantine Cinema Arts Award.
The award honors a leading actor, director or other creative artist who has stretched the boundaries of cinematic expression. Last year's honoree was Isabella Rossellini.
"We wanted to give it to an artist who has embraced all art forms in his career. Ethan embodies that," Cinema Arts Festival Houston artistic director Richard Herskowitz told CultureMap.
"We wanted to give it to an artist who has embraced all art forms in his career. Ethan embodies that," Cinema Arts Festival Houston artistic director Richard Herskowitz told CultureMap. "He exactly fits the bill of what we are looking for — a young actor who sees no boundaries at all. Film is simply the starting point for him."
Hawke, 40, will present his latest film, The Woman in the Fifth, on Nov. 12 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Brown Auditorium, and talk about his career in a question-and-answer session with CultureMap contributor, film teacher and critic Joe Leydon afterwards.
The next day, Hawkeʼs good friend, director Richard Linklater, will join him for a 10th anniversary screening of their 2001 collaboration, Tape, at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace.
The festival, which is unique because it combines elements of an art fair with a traditional film fest, also plans a full slate of interactive installations and live performances with films in several locations across Houston Nov. 9-13.
"We have constantly built up the live performance element,"Herskowitz said. "The original vision was to make this a festival where all the arts participate. I feel like it's getting closer and closer to what that original dream was."
Among the live installations:
- The Donald Sosin Ensemble, featuring vocalist Joanna Seaton and student players from Rice Universityʼs Shepherd School of Music, will perform live to accompany the recently rediscovered silent classic, Upstream (1927), at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Nov. 13.
- In collaboration with the Aurora Picture Show, filmmaker, video artist and documentarian Braden King will present his new feature film, Here, on Nov. 11 at the Edwards Greenway Grand Palace, as well as a live hybrid film-concert Here [The Story Sleeps] at Talento Bilingue de Houston on Nov. 12.
- Miwa Matreyek will present her latest performance – "Myth and Infrastructure" – at Talento Bilingue de Houston on Nov. 11. Meyek performs in a multimedia production using projected animation she has created.
- As previously reported, the festival will kick off Nov. 9 with the regional premiere of Downtown Express, featuring a performance by the film's star, Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint.
Three upcoming releases with Oscar potential will be screened at the festival:
- The Artist, a silent movie filmed in black-and-white about a relationship between a star whose popularity is on the wane with the advent of talkies and a young-actress-on-the-rise, has won rave reviews at major international film festivals.
- Coriolanus, starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes, is a 2011 adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy about a banished hero of Rome who allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.
- David Cronenbergʼs A Dangerous Method is based on the turbulent relationships between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them.
In another new element this year, the festival is bringing three major international directors — Patricio Guzmán (Chile), Zhu Wen (China), and Mahmoud Kaabour (Lebanon) — to present their latest films.
Closing night (Nov. 13) promises two blockbusters: The world premiere of Art Car: The Movie at Miller Outdoor Theater and Pina, a 3-D movie by director Wim Wenders about dance great Pina Bosch, at the Edwards Greenway Grand Palace.
One reason for the strong lineup: Although in only its third year, the festival has earned a reputation as a "go-to" place for new or unusual movies. "We've got more clout," Herskowitz said.
A full schedule as can be found on the Cinema Arts Festival Houston website.