This year’s edition of the Las Vegas Film Festival, which runs August 11-16 at the Inspire Theater downtown, will have an unexpected new partner: CineVegas. The onetime local mainstay, which was the city’s centerpiece film festival from 1999 until going on hiatus following its 2009 edition, will sponsor four screenings and one party at this year’s LVFF. All of the CineVegas films have connections to filmmakers and actors who were featured in past editions of the festival, including experimental filmmaker Giuseppe Andrews, actor/director Bobcat Goldthwait, actor Viggo Mortensen and local filmmaker Tom Barndt.
Documentary Giuseppe Makes a Movie (directed by fellow CineVegas alum Adam Rifkin) follows Andrews as he works on his latest no-budget feature starring his friends and neighbors. Goldthwait’s documentary Call Me Lucky, about comedian turned activist Barry Crimmins, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. Danish drama Jauja, which won a critics’ prize at Cannes in 2014, stars Mortensen as a man searching for his lost daughter in the desert of Argentina. And The Paranormal Idiot is Barndt’s first short film since his days as a CineVegas regular.
All four films will screen during the period of August 13-15 and will be accompanied by a CineVegas reunion party at El Cortez on August 13. “It is an honor to be a part of the Las Vegas Film Festival, whose programming director, West McDowell, is a CineVegas alum,” CineVegas President Robin Greenspun said in a statement. “We’re very pleased to be presenting such a strong array of films with ties to CineVegas.” Greenspun herself will have a film, the documentary Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl, in the LVFF’s main section.
Whether this marks the first phase of a full return for CineVegas or merely a more limited partnership with the organizers of the LVFF, it’s still a positive development for local film culture, and another sign that the folks behind the LVFF are looking to improve and strengthen what has become the city’s default major film fest.