not known as the city of sin for nothing, and Las Vegas’ eighth annual
CineVegas proved worthy of its motto as “the world’s most dangerous
film festival,” spotlighting sex, adultery, drugs and dangerous social
circles run amok during its recently wrapped, successful 59-film run at
the Palms Casino Resort and Brenden Theatres from June 9-17.
addition to honoring a variety of entertainment icons (Helen Mirren,
Taylor Hackford, Laurence Fishburne, Christina Ricci and Sylvester Stallone) who no doubt enjoyed their comped trips to Vegas, the
festival screened a dozen highly anticipated world and U.S. premieres,
plus showcased a smattering of homegrown Nevada fare.
A jury comprised of director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road, The Mothman Prophecies) and film critics Jean Oppenheimer and FX Feeney awarded the Grand Jury Award went to the film G.I. Jesus,
directed by Carl Colapert and starring Joe Arquette (above),
Patricia Mota, Maurizio Farhad, Mark Cameron and Telana Lynum. Blending
two current, hot-button issues together in chocolate-and-peanut-butter
fashion, the movie tells the story of Mexican national Jesus Feliciano,
who returns to California after a tour of duty in Iraq, where he served
in the Army in exchange for a grant of U.S. citizenship. Suffering from
trauma related to his battle experiences, Jesus tries to put his life
back together even as he feels his family life increasingly threatened.
The jury also bestowed honorable mentions to the films The Favor, written and directed by Eva Aridjis, and The 4th Dimension, written and directed by Tom Mattera and Dave Mazzoni. Park,
meanwhile, received the festival’s Audience Award. Written and directed
by Kurt Voelker, and starring William Baldwin, Ricki Lake and Cheri
Oteri, the film orchestrates a tempest of change in the lives of a
group of Los Angelenos on a seemingly quiet and sunny day in a secluded
recreational area. For more information, visit the festival’s web site by clicking here. Then tell them Shared Darkness sent you, and watch the look of confusion wash over their faces…