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Five films to catch at the Las Vegas Film Festival.

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The Farewell
Courtesy
Josh Bell

Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary

Filmmaker Ben Berman set out to make a documentary about terminally ill comedy magician (and veteran Vegas headliner) The Amazing Johnathan, only to find his film taking surprise twists and turns that caused him to question the very nature of documentary filmmaking. Both Berman and Johnathan will be in attendance to continue the deconstruction. April 28, 7:30 p.m., Brenden Theatres.

The Zen Speaker: Breaking the Silence

The third documentary from local filmmaker Robin Greenspun focuses on the life of Las Vegas business consultant, speaker and sex trafficking survivor Amy Ayoub. Greenspun’s movie shows how Ayoub overcame her trauma and became an activist and a source of inspiration for many other survivors. Greenspun and Ayoub will both be attending the film’s world premiere. April 29, 5 p.m., Brenden Theatres.

Hail Satan?

Filmmaker Penny Lane (who will be in attendance) explores the tactics and personalities behind the Satanic Temple—a mixture of activists, pranksters and dedicated atheists. The group’s publicity-grabbing stunts (including lawsuits to place a statue of Baphomet at state capitols displaying the Ten Commandments) have highlighted its commitment to the separation of church and state. April 29, 7:30 p.m., Brenden Theatres.

Knock Down the House

It makes sense that most of the attention on this documentary about four progressive Democrats running for the House of Representatives in 2018 has been focused on rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But there are three other subjects in Rachel Lears’ film, including Amy Vilela, who ran in Nevada’s 4th District, and Vilela herself will be on hand to discuss her participation in the film. May 4, 5 p.m., Brenden Theatres.

The Farewell

Following her breakout supporting role in Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina stars in Lulu Wang’s Sundance-acclaimed dramedy as a conflicted Chinese-American woman whose family throws together a hastily scheduled sham wedding so that they can travel to China and pay their respects to her dying grandmother … who doesn’t know she’s dying. May 4, 8 p.m., Brenden Theatres.

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  • From Avengers: Endgame to Toy Story 4 to Tarantino and beyond.

  • This year’s event features another packed lineup of short films, with more than 120 selections spread over 20-plus thematic programs and four days.

  • The three-day event—which will showcase more than 50 short films, along with one feature—kicks off with a free night of films at Backstage Bar and ...

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