The Asheville Cinema Festival offers the best of both film worlds. Opening and closing with two big-name Oscar contenders from the Weinstein Company (Silver Linings Playbook and Quartet) is sure to attract a large crowd, but the small independent films playing throughout the festival look just as impressive. A mix of feature-length and short films, this programming offers the opportunity to see works that would otherwise be extremely difficult to track down. Combine that access with numerous Q&As with filmmakers and a handful of workshops from industry insiders, and Asheville is in for a treat this weekend.
I’ve seen a few of the films over the past week. All are solid independent works whose quality bodes well for the rest of the festival.
3 Days of Normal tells the story of a straight-laced young cop whose simple life is turned upside down when a beautiful but troubled movie star comes through his small New Hampshire town. Reminiscent of Notting Hill in rural New England, the film is goofy but heartfelt thanks to the officer’s Boy Scout charms. The film screens at 2PM at the Asheville Community Theatre.
The animated short films block is worth seeing for Oh Willy… alone. In this Belgian export, a young man visits his dying mother at an unusual place. The film then takes one unexpected turn after another, all through impressive stop-motion felt puppet animation. Oh Willy… and six other animated shorts (ranging from seven to 23 minutes in length) begin on Friday at 9:15PM at the Masonic Lodge and will screen again on Saturday at 5:45PM, also at the Masonic Lodge. The animated films are not appropriate for children.
To get the full festival experience, I recommend a mix of features and shorts, prioritizing screenings with filmmaker Q&As. Interaction with the people who created these films is a wonderful experience and shouldn’t be missed.