Ashvegas guide to the Asheville Cinema Festival: Saturday


The festival’s busiest, most intriguing day continues the weekend’s eclectic slate and offers a second chance at several of the short film blocks. Check out our guide to Friday’s films, plus the full slate for Saturday, including summaries of the featuresdocumentariesshorts, and workshops.  Tickets are still available.

Read on for insight on films I’ve already seen and the documentary that tops my To-See list.

The Cardboard Bernini

The Cardboard Bernini follows artist James Grashow in his four-year quest to build a cardboard replica of the Trevi fountain.  Once completed, Grashow’s plan is to install the work outdoors and let nature take its toll on the piece, a decision that draws an array of responses from friends, family, spectators, and Grashow himself.  Similar to Beauty is Embarrassing in its exploration of an imaginative mind and his work, The Cardboard Bernini delves even deeper into the philosophies behind artistic creation and its ties to the human condition.  This wonderful documentary begins at 11:15AM at the Asheville Community Theatre and includes a post-screening Q&A.

Born in Goma

Upon seeing footage of Rwandan refugees escaping genocide and flooding into the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1994, Chris Carpenter felt called to lend his aid.  14 years later and armed with physician training, Dr. Carpenter makes good on his word and provides medical care to citizens in need of a range of treatment.  Born in Goma captures his experiences, focusing on three young patients whose stories form a moving tapestry of the Congo’s daily battles with poverty, violence, corruption, disease, and malnourishment.  The film screens at 1:45PM at the Masonic Lodge and is part of a Unique Lives documentary block, along with the short doc Odysseus’ Gambit.  Tom and Elizabeth Dickey, Carpenter’s Hendersonville-based in-laws, were in Goma for part of the filming and will be on hand for a Q&A following the film.

Vamp U

The festival’s highlight may be Vamp U.  A witty take on what has quickly become a tired genre, the film centers on Wayne Gretzky (good name, right?), a vampire who, after accidentally biting his true love, has been unable to grow fangs for 300  years.  (The film’s original title was Dr. Limptooth.)  In present day, he enjoys life as a cool college history teacher until a beautiful young student with an uncanny resemblance to his former love rekindles his ability to bite.  Smart, funny, and self-referential in a manner reminiscent of Seven Psychopaths, the film is a top-notch wacky comedy that doesn’t stray too far.  Vamp U starts at 2:30PM at the Asheville Community Theatre and will be an especially fun film to experience as part of a large audience.

Side By Side

Other than the opening and closing night films, Side By Side is the work I’m most looking forward to seeing.  Produced by Keanu Reeves, who serves as the film’s guide, the documentary examines the respective (and intertwined) histories of digital and celluloid film.  Featuring interviews with such top directors as Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez, and Danny Boyle, the film appears to be the ultimate insider guide to the industry’s transition to digital filmmaking.  Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and for a film geek like me, few documentaries could be more interesting.  Side By Side screens at 5:30 at the Asheville Community Theatre.