The 11th annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival will rack up some new mileage next week and this year, especially with some special guests.
The fest showcasing independent movie productions and returning April 20-23 to the Carmike Cinemas’ Broadway 17, at Broadway at the Beach, will encompass more than 45 screenings – roughly 70 percent comedy and 30 percent more dramatic – said Jerry Dalton, founder and director. Red carpets are ready, too, for dialogues in several interactive blocks with viewers.
The slate includes the world premiere of “Live Another Day” at 5 p.m. April 23 a documentary about the government bailout of automakers General Motors and Chrysler, and “premiere party” afterward with complimentary sushi, wine tasting and jazz music, Dalton said, welcoming viewers to chat and mingle with Jay Alix of founder of AlixPartners, and John “Jack” Smith Jr., former president, chief executive officer and chairman of General Motors Co.
Dalton said this “million dollar” movie that shows in detail what happens in a financial collapse, was submitted for the festival by its producers way in advance, and that “we play films that sometimes other festivals won’t run.” After the “Live Another Day” debut – with this easy-access forum that differs from the more regal, costly premiere parties in Hollywood – its next screening is booked for Harvard Business School, Dalton said.
Another film occupying its own two-hour time slot, at 5 p.m. April 22, is “ADDicted,” about a college football player’s perilous dependence on Adderall. The Q&A after this screening, with Dr. Dalal Akoury of Myrtle Beach, founder of the AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center, aims to engage the public, Dalton said, in awareness about narcotic addictions proliferating through society.
Events on April 21 will begin at 1 p.m. with a discussion of film industry and distribution, in a live webcast with Thomas Hughes, executive vice president of worldwide digital distribution for Lionsgate.
Scanning the whole roster of movies this year – with anime and music video also making the cut – Dalton said none chosen was “mediocre” and they’re all “great, great films.”
He brought up “Davia,” a “very intense” and touching 17-minute short to start the 2:30 p.m. block on April 23. He said it was filmed in Montreal, but looks like Russia, and follows two Axis soldiers – one German, the other Italian – fleeing the tundra of Russia at the end of World War II and encountering a 10-year-old native.
Two shorts have Palmetto State connections, Dalton said: “Live by the Sword,” in the 2:30 p.m. slot April 21 was written, directed and produced by S.C. native Robert Johnson, and “Coffee Date,” leading the 2:30 p.m. block April 22, was filmed in Charleston.
The film festival’s 2016 won’t end with Myrtle Beach, either, for a run of almost all the 45 movies is booked for South Haven, Mich., Sept. 21-24, Dalton said, and the fest also will roll nationwide for the first ever, with plans in other Carmike Cinemas sites.
Dalton, a movie distributor by trade, called each market for the festival “a little bit different,” but “these films will satisfy the mainstream moviegoer.”
“They’re intense and thought provoking,” he said, “but nothing bizarre. ... These films here are great these films here are great stories, they’re done extremely well, and they’re by people trying to move into the mainstream of moviemaking.”
Another attraction Dalton finds in indie productions is “the personal connections with the films.”
Direct from Florida fest: ‘Courier-X’
He said “Courier-X,” starring Udo Kier, and the closing film for April 22, at 8 p.m. “kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time,” so much that dinner consumption that night had to wait.
The movie, directed by Thomas Gulamerian, centers on a plot of a smuggler, working for a former East German Stasi police officer, who’s recruited by the CIA for involvement with the TWA Flight 800 downing and a cover-up of a blackmail attempt on the CIA, after the real-life release in 2014 of Gary Webb’s book Gary Webb’s book, “Dark Alliance: Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.”
Speaking by phone last week from Florida, where the movie had its North American premiere, at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, Gulamerian said its making the past two years was “kept off the radar,” especially away from California and New York.
He said because of the sensitive nature of this film’s content – “all based on factual events, most of which took place in 1996” – the music and sound design production occurred in Philadelphia, the editing in Milwaukee, and color correction and color grading in Kansas, with the shutting of tasks in the process driven among the work points –” in areas that people would never suspect to look” – all before its debut showing in London.
Gulamerian said “Courier-X” never was envisioned in wide release in theaters, but it has take a film festival circuit, “and we’ll kind of go from there.”
“We’re early in the stages to be thinking about distribution of this,” he said, foreseeing the movie’s longevity with interest from the public in varying degrees.
Gulamerian understands some individuals’ familiarity with the events that inspired the movie and with history, and that “these stories within the picture itself” generate more popularity and hunger for research.
He said although “not a history buff,” “Courier-X” marked a new step in his portfolio of works he has directed. In this indie industry, he said the focus stays on “keeping costs down and the production value high.”
Marketing through such film fests and conversing with fellow artisans of the screen, Gulamerian said just last week in Florida, “it was almost as though everybody knew one another.”
“Everybody speaks the same language,” he said, also excited to make the Myrtle Beach festival the third stop for “Courier-X.”
‘Occupy, Texas’: a ‘community happening’
Gene Gallerano wrote, and stars in the role for, “Occupy, Texas,” a comedy that anchors the final film for the 8:30 p.m. window on April 20, also in its third screening, after opening at home in Dallas, then playing in Kansas City.
This production, he said, aims for a universal appeal, full of aspects relatable so easily by multiple generations, whether in Texas or in other communities, and this project took four years from conception to completion.
This first film directed by Jeff Barry let Gallerano honor a “great group of loved ones and friends, a tremendous group of people I grew up with and around.”
Aware that so many fellow Texans don’t like to leave the Lonestar State, or they want to be away as little as possible, he pays homage to his homeland through every setting in the movie reflecting a personal connection he’s had, such as his middle school. Friends lent their homes for scenes, as did “my mother’s law firm,” he said, grateful for the attention that wound up as s “Come on by” moment to see what filming transpired each day.
With “tons of extras” amid stars such as Peri Gilpin, who played Roz Doyle on the NBC sitcom “Frasier,” and Janine Turner, whose resume includes the former CBS series “Northern Exposure,” Gallerano loved how filming became such as “community happening.”
“This was a homecoming film,” he said, “in many more ways that I expected.”
Gallerano said he and Barry are juggling travels this month because they’re also actor producers in a movie screeening twice at the Nashville Film Festival in Tennessee: “Fireworkers,” directed by Christina Bennett Lind, Gallerano’s wife.
With a brother he said was captain of the men’s hockey team at the University of Notre Dame, Gallerano loves this time of year because of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, beginning this week, and his hometown Dallas Stars – winners of the 1999 title – carry the lead seed this year in the Western Conference.
Helping write “a hockey TV series for “the next project I want to make,” Gallerano said he already has calculated that if the Stars reach the finals, and max out every series to seven games, the very last contest would fall on June 17, “my birthday.”
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: 11th annual Myrtle Beach International Film Festival
WHEN: April 20-23
WHERE: Carmike Cinemas’ Broadway 17, at Broadway at the Beach, off Robert M. Grissom Parkway, between 21st and 29th avenues North in Myrtle Beach.
HOW MUCH: $10 per two-hour block of films, or $50 for all-access pass.
INFORMATION: 843-497-0220 or www.myrtlebeachfilmfestival.com
SCHEDULE: In order per time block, with each film’s native country (if not United States), and length in minutes parenthesized –
▪ 4:45-5:45 p.m. – Opening reception, in theater lobby.
▪ 6-8 p.m. – “Letter to God” (Russia, 17), “Lightning in Hand” (USA/Mexico, 16), and “Interwoven” (87).
▪ 8:30-10:30 p.m. – “Wahillos” (Germany, 3), “Extra School” (15), and “Occupy, Texas” (94).
▪ 1-2 p.m. – Discussion of film industry and distribution, via web with Thomas Hughes, executive vice president of worldwide digital distribution for Lionsgate, in theater auditorium.
▪ 2:30-4:30 p.m. – “Leave You Behind” music video (4), “The Son” (United Kingdom, 9), “Mother’s Day” (7), “Baits & Hooks” (Serbian, 10), “Die Jacke (The Jacket” (Austria/Germany, 15), “Live by the Sword” (15), “Letzkonig (The Love to End All Love)” (Germany, 10), “Zarnista” (Germany, 9), and “Nabilah” (Germany, 23).
▪ 5-7 p.m. – “The Key” cartoon (USA/Canada/South Korea, 3), and “Poverty Inc.” (112).
▪ 7:30-9:30 p.m. – “Moussse” (Sweden, 41), and “Dragonfly” (77).F
▪ 10-11:30 p.m. – Post-movie networking and social gathering at Ultimate California Pizza, 2500 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach.
▪ Noon-2 p.m. – “Rebel Child” (5), “Driven” (Switzerland, 9), “Shabu-Shabu Spirit” (Japan, 11), and “Since the Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103” (USA/UK, 82).
▪ 2:30-4:30 p.m. – “Coffee Date” (11), “Phil’s Camino” (USA/Spain, 27), “Frontman” (18), “The King’s Guitar” (27), and “Die Postgetter” (Austria, 35).
▪ 5-7 p.m. – “ADDicted” (101), with question-and-answer session afterward with Dr. Dalal Akoury of Myrtle Beach.
▪ 7-8 p.m. – Complimentary food, in lobby, from Little Pigs Bar-B-Q and beer tasting from New South Brewery Co., both of Myrtle Beach.
▪ 8-10 p.m. – “Courier-X” (137).
▪ Noon-2 p.m. – “The Urban Lie” (3). “Rocco” (6), “Sea of Ink” cartoon (3), “Save the Bees” (2), “Walker World” (8), “Bacteria” (Belgium, 39), and “Graveyard of the Great Lakes” (50).
▪ 2:30-4:30 p.m. – “Davia” (Canada, 17), and “Hellstorm” (90).
▪ 5-7 p.m. – World premiere of Live Another Day” (101), with special guests Jay Alix of founder of AlixPartners, and John “Jack” Smith Jr., former president, chief executive officer and chairman of General Motors Corp.
▪ 7-8 p.m. – Complimentary sushi, in lobby, from Jimmyz Original Hibachi House of Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach, and wine tasting from Silver Coast Winery of Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., with jazz by Denny Hess Trio.
▪ 8-9:45 p.m. – “Razor” (Serbia, 9), “Chelation Therapy” (21), “My Luchador” (13), “They All Will Die in Space” (Spain, 15), and “Das Problem des Schnellstfluges (The Problem of the Fastest Flight”) (Germany, 32).
▪ 9:45 p.m. – Awards ceremony, in theater.
▪ 10 p.m.-midnight – After-party at Sun City Cafe, 801 Main St., Myrtle Beach.