Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Kinder, Gentler Film Festival

Lincoln Center opens the 2005 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival tonight with a benefit showing of Pete Travis' Irish terrorism opus, Omagh. Based on the true story of a 1998 car bomb that killed 31 peple in a small Northern Irish market town, the film earned Travis the British equivalent of an Emmy earlier this year. Crash the $250-a-head opening-night benefit party to clink beer glasses with him, or just wait for his post-screening discussions after Friday's and Saturday's showings.

In a side note, while Stephen Holden rhapsodizes about the festival in today's Times, he notably omitted the film that is probably packing the most buzz: Sean McAllister's The Liberace of Baghdad tells the story of Samir Peter, a once-famous Iraqi pianist who must decide whether to stay with his pro-Saddam daughter in coalition Baghdad or flee to his wife in the United States. The doc won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance and could use the extra push this weekend to secure a US distribution deal.

McAllister will also be on hand to answer questions and (with any luck, or maybe justice) sign really lucrative contracts following Saturday evening's screening.

UPDATE (6.10.05): The Hollywood Reporter, um, reports that the Sundance Channel came all over itself yesterday to get Omagh in Blockbuster and on the tube. In related news , Sean McAllister winces, sighs, orders another round.

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