Monday, November 16, 2009

Asheville Film Festival: Day Four Recap

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 1:33 AM

That Evening Sun
  • That Evening Sun

SUNDAY, NOV. 15 – The Good Book may have designated the seventh day as a period of rest, but then again, it’s obvious that back in Biblical times, there wasn’t an Asheville Film Festival that needed constant attention.

Still, there’s no denying that the final day of the event has always been less chaotic than the ones that preceded it. Instead of having to oversee dozens of screenings taking place throughout the afternoons and evenings at numerous downtown venues, the festival staff is able to tighten the reins by orchestrating only a half-dozen or so showings in two different venues.

The afternoon is mainly an opportunity for filmgoers to play catch-up, by checking out the films the took home either the top award or the runner-up prize in the five competitive categories: Features, Documentary, Short Fiction, Student and Animation. (To see the complete list of winners, go to the bottom of this page.)

In addition to the final shout-outs to the winners, today also saw three special presentations. Local director Michael Knox was behind Tearing Down the Tent, a documentary about the country’s biggest traveling tent circus, The Cole Brothers Circus.

Later in the afternoon, the festival presented That Evening Sun, a picture whose year-end awards buzz almost exclusively centers around the excellent lead performance by Hal Holbrook as an elderly man who flees the nursing home and journeys back to his own farmland property – only to discover that his son (Walt Goggins) has leased it to a vicious redneck (Raymond McKinnon) and his family.

Precious
  • Precious

And for the closing night film, a prestigious spot that last year went to the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, the festival folks settled on Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, an unflinching drama about an overweight African-American teenager (Gabourey Sidibe) trying to overcome a lifetime of emotional and physical abuse. The selection of Precious was so popular that tickets sold out even before the festival had begun last Thursday night, leading the festival staff to decide to add a second screening to accommodate high demand. (Precious is scheduled to open in Charlotte next Friday; there is no set date yet for That Evening Sun. But look for upcoming reviews of both films in print and on our Web site.)

And that wraps up this four-day report from the Asheville Film Festival. And now we return to our regularly scheduled CL film coverage!

(To read the previous days’ recaps, go here and here and here.)

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