Full schedule released
Cinema Arts Festival adds John Turturro & Houston cowboy Clint Cannon
The Cinema Arts Festival Houston has already announced several marquee names — Isabella Rossellini, Shirley MacLaine and Alex Gibney. But now there's even more to get excited about.
Actor, director and writer John Turturro will kick off the festival at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Nov. 10 with Passione, a "musical adventure" exploring the music of Naples from the 13th century to the present day, realized through archival footage and new performances by the Italian city's most famous artists.
Turturro, best known for his roles in Quiz Show, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski and as Agent Simmons in the recent Transformers franchise, will also screen his documentary Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy on Nov. 11. Rehearsal follows Sicilian puppeteer Roman Pasca and his apprentice and touches on the traditions and culture of Sicily — including a visit to Turturro's own family — as those traditions are in danger of being lost to global entertainment formats like film and television.
Houston's own professional cowboy Clint Cannon will appear onscreen and in person with French director Frédèric Laffont on Nov. 13 at the Edwards Grand Palace. Laffont's film Ballad of a Cowboy (Ballade pour un Cow-boy) follows Cannon in 2006 as he struggles to follow in his father's footsteps and earn his way to riding broncos at the world championships. In 2009, Cannon set a record for earnings and won the world championship in Houston after two promising seasons were cut short by injuries.
"I'm stoked about it. It's a big deal to have it shown in my home town," Cannon said at a party Tuesday night at Hotel ZaZa to announce the full slate of festival films. "I'm excited about people getting to know the cowboy lifestyle, how we live, what we endure, what we do. It's a rough and tough deal."
Laffont originally filmed the documentary for French television, so Cannon said it will be the first time he will see it on the big screen. The French director will also screen a section of a film, Cowboy Solitude, that also stars Cannon and is a combination of documentary and fiction. It will be shown following Ballad of a Cowboy.
As the only one in the room wearing a cowboy hat, Cannon stood out among festival officials and social figures, including festival board chair Franci Crane, Lynn Wyatt, Diane Farb, artistic director Richard Herskowitz, who put the schedule of films together, and Houston Film Commission vice president/executive director Rick Ferguson.
In only its second year, the Cinema Arts Festival is having an impact on the city's arts and film scene, Ferguson said. "Certainly the initial idea was to build more of a film culture in Houston. The quality of films and people coming in can only be a huge benefit to build a film culture here."
The festival will include a Texas Filmmakers Showcase of the best short films and videos under 40 minutes and a new series examining three Houston-based films currently in production.
Among other highlights announced on Tuesday:
- Groundbreaking animator Bill Plympton will be on hand Nov. 12 to screen his latest feature, Idiots & Angels, a gray vision of an American dystopia that's both Kafkaesque and uplifting. Plympton will also conduct a master class for fans and aspiring animators on Nov. 12 and introduce short animated and experimental films he curated for the Independent Exposure on Nov. 13 at the Edwards.
- Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, tells the story of two parents coping with the death of their young child. It has been getting quiet buzz from the major film festivals and, like Precious, which screened at the Cinema Arts Festival last year, is already generating Oscar talk. It will be an opening night film at Edwards on Nov. 10.
As previously reported on CultureMap, Rossellini will be honored with the first Levantine Cinema Arts Award and take part in a tribute to the Rice Media Center, which her father helped establish with John and Dominique DeMenil. MacLaine will attend a screening of Terms of Endearment and be presented the 2010 Texas Film Award. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Gibney will present My Trip to Al Qaeda, screen his latest project, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer and participate in a conversation with Houston audiences.
The full schedule of the Cinema Arts Festival Houston, which runs from Nov. 10-14, can be viewed here. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the Edwards Greenway box office.