Over two weekends (October 15-17 and 21-24), the Williamstown Film Festival’s 12th season will screen 33 titles including the East Coast premiere of a new documentary by the team that made Spellbound, the latest work of director Edward Burns, and films featuring Brian Dennehy, Helen Hunt, Eddie Izzard, Melissa Leo, Liev Schreiber, Kim Cattrall, and David Hyde Pierce. A salute to screen legend Billy Wilder will be hosted by special guests Alec Baldwin and Robert Osborne.
WFF kicks off at Images Cinema in Williamstown at 8:00pm on Friday, October 15th with Meet Monica Velour, the delightfully offbeat story of a teenage nerd’s crush on a onetime soft core actress (Cattrall, in a terrific performance). Director Keith Bearden will attend the screening and take questions afterward.
Saturday, October 16th begins at the Williams Inn with a 10:00am breakfast seminar, “The Kids on the Screen,” in which artists from the weekend’s shorts and features talk about eliciting performances from young actors and the history of children in the movies. This will be followed by a 12noon screening at Images of The Space Between, in which a flight attendant (Leo) takes charge of a Pakistani boy in the wake of a national crisis and forms an unexpected bond with him. The first of the always-popular All-Shorts slots takes place at Images at 3:00pm.
The annual Benefit dinner (which includes reserved seating at the event following) will be held in the B10 Cabaret space at MASS MoCA in North Adams, after which WFF and MASS MoCA will present Emmy-winning screen and stage star Alec Baldwin and Turner Classics Movie host Robert Osborne in “Revisiting Billy Wilder,” a lively conversation about the iconic director of Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, The Apartment, and many more. WFF executive director Steve Lawson will moderate the discussion, which will include clips reels of scenes from Wilder’s movies to spark the dialogue as well as questions from the audience.
The first weekend concludes at Images on Sunday, October 17th with an 11:00am screening of Every Day, in which a superb cast of Helen Hunt, Liev Schreiber, Eddie Izzard, and Brian Dennehy (who is expected to attend) illuminates a touching look at a family struggling to get past life’s curveballs. Bagels, fruit, coffee and juices will be available at 10:30am.
Weekend II kicks off on Thursday, October 21st at 8:00pm with The Perfect Host, a diabolic psychological thriller about a consummate partygiver (David Hyde Pierce) whose unexpected dinner guest turns a civilized evening into a nightmare. On Friday at 3:00pm, WFF will presentKeep Eye on Ball, a fascinating true story about an obscure man who vaulted to the pinnacle of the squash world and revolutionized a sport.
WFF returns to MASS MoCA on Friday night, October 22nd with House of Usher, Roger Corman’s 1960 version of the Edgar Allan Poe tale of madness and debauchery starring an irresistibly macabre Vincent Price. Pianist, organist, and composer Marco Benevento and his jazz trio will play a new original score onstage against the movie.
Saturday the 23rd begins with the second All-Shorts slot at Images at 10:00am. At 12:30pm at The Orchards, “DIY: The Bow Shock of Indie’s Future” will be the focus of this season’s Lunch Seminar. Jeffrey Brandstetter, co-founder and CEO of the Silicon-Valley based online company IndiePlaya, lays out a revolutionary new scenario for selling independent films without the usual barriers. This will be followed at 3:00pm with Monogamy, winner of the ‘Best of New York’ award at the Tribeca Film Festival, which traces a photographer’s penchant for shooting his clients surveillance style on the sly and how it lands him in hot water. Monogamy has been hailed as “the smartest film about 30-something sex and marriage since sex, lies, and videotape.”
At 8:00pm, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will be the site of the East Coast premiere of Lucky, directed by Jeffrey Blitz and produced by Sean Welch, whose previous features – Spellbound and Rocket Science – both screened at WFF. Their new documentary is a roller-coaster look at the seduction of the lottery and how the winners are affected by their lucky break. After the film there will be a Q-&-A, presentation of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Award to the top short of the Festival determined by audience vote, and WFF’s annual “death-by-chocolate” party in the museum courtyard.
The season wraps up on Sunday, October 24th with the 11:00am screening at Images ofNice Guy Johnny, the latest film by Edward Burns who directed The Brothers McMullen,She’s the One, and Purple Violets (WFF/2007). Burns also plays the key role of a womanizing uncle insistent that his twenty-something nephew not get married, take a lucrative job, and settle down. A day in the Hamptons segues into a dizzying weekend of temptation – will Johnny cave in?
“It’s the most wide-ranging lineup we’ve had yet,” says Lawson. “Drama, comedy, animation, documentaries, world-class acting and direction, special guests Baldwin and Osborne. In addition to the features and seminars, the two dozen shorts on tap cover an incredible range of material. And, as always, every title at WFF screens just once to maximize the personal contact between artists and audiences.”
To order tickets or discount Passes or receive the season brochure, call (413) 458-9900 or go to www.williamstownfilmfest.com.