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   from the issue of November 10, 2005

Multi-city film festival plays at the Ross

The Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center will take part in the multi-city "Undiscovered Gems" film festival Nov. 11 to Nov. 23.

Presented by the New York Times and Emerging Pictures, the festival will bring seven of the annual indieWire list of the top 15 undistributed films to theaters in nine cities: Lincoln; New York; San Francisco; Red Bank, N.J.; Champaign, Ill.; Wilmington, Del.; Lake Worth, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Scranton, Pa.

The seven films featured in the Undiscovered Gems festival are:

"Dear Pillow" (Directed by Bryan Poyser, USA, narrative, 84 min.) - Poyser's debut is a story of contemporary loneliness and obsession. Wes, an awkward and frustrated teenager, forms an unlikely friendship with an older man, Dusty, who lives in the same apartment complex and who writes for a porn magazine called Dear Pillow. Grappling with themes of sexual alienation and isolation, Poyser's film is at once unsettling and believable, earning him an IFP Independent Spirit nomination.

"House of the Tiger King" (Directed by David Flamholc, Sweden/United Kingdom, documentary, 104 min.) - Join writer and explorer Tahir Shah and a mix of characters including a Vietnam vet, an esoteric mystic, a pair of Machiguenga warriors and 15 hired American porters in a search for the most famous lost city of the Incas. The journey takes them through torrential rainforest downpours, sheet lightening, fever, mutiny and extortion. Cultural clashes produce frequent hilarious moments. Flamholc captures the essence of discovery, and shows a journey of the soul, sprinkled with a pinch of salt.

"Hotel" (Directed by Jessica Hausner, Austria/Germany, narrative, 85 min.) - Set in the Austrian Alps, "Hotel" is the sinister second feature of Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner. Irene is the new receptionist who discovers that she replaced a girl who vanished mysteriously. When she questions the other employees they react with indifference and hostility, and she soon becomes convinced that she must escape her impending doom.

"No Rest for the Brave" (Directed by Alain Guiraudie, France/Austria, narrative, 104 min.) - A metaphysical tale of a teenager who believes that the next time he falls asleep he will die. Determined to survive, the boy refuses to sleep. As exhaustion sets in, the film embarks on a wild, hallucinatory ride in which reality and fantasy become obfuscated and intertwined.

"Awful Normal" (Directed by Celesta Davis, United States, documentary, 76 min.) - When Karen and Celesta Davis were molested in 1978, little was being done about sexual abuse. Parental inaction was not questioned as they continued to keep up a relationship with this "friend" of the family. Twenty-five years later, the grown women continue to be haunted by the abuse and denial, and so embark on a journey to find their perpetrator. In this real-life documentation of confrontation and recovery, we follow Celesta and Karen as they face demons head on.

"Liberia: An Uncivil War" (Directed by Jonathan Stack, United States, documentary, 99 min.) -This award-winning documentary from Jonathan Stack takes viewers to the front lines of battle for Liberia, between oppressive leader Charles Taylor and a rebel group known as Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy. With interviews and footage of the fighting, Stack and co-director James Brabazon offer a harrowing, inside report on an country whose struggles have been ignored and overshadowed.

"Speedo" (Directed by Jesse Moss, United States, documentary, 78 min.) - Ed "Speedo" Jager is a king of the demolition derby circuit, a formidable figure in a rough-and-tumble sport, and through several seasons the film follows his collisions and confrontations on the track and off. While he is a success in his sport, his marriage is a different story. Moss' portrait immerses us in Speedo's world, showing how the races have become his release valve, and dispelling the stereotypes his lifestyle might bring to mind. He emerges with dignity, as a rather endearing character.

Nov. 11 and 18

5 p.m. Awful Normal

7 p.m. Liberia: An Uncivil War

9 p.m. Speedo

Nov. 12 and 19

1 p.m. Dear Pillow

3 p.m. House of the Tiger King

5 p.m. Hotel

7 p.m. No Rest for the Brave

9 p.m. Awful Normal

Nov. 13

3 p.m. Liberia: An Uncivil War

5 p.m. Speedo

7 p.m. Dear Pillow

9 p.m. House of the Tiger King

Nov. 14

5 p.m. Hotel

9 p.m. No Rest for the Brave

Nov. 20

1 p.m. Liberia: An Uncivil War

3 p.m. Speedo

5 p.m. Dear Pillow

7 p.m. House of the Tiger King

Nov. 21

5 p.m. Hotel

7 p.m. No Rest for the Brave

9 p.m. Awful Normal

Nov. 22

5 p.m. Liberia: An Uncivil War

7 p.m. Speedo

9 p.m. Dear Pillow

Nov. 23

5 p.m. House of the Tiger King

7 p.m. Hotel

9 p.m. No Rest for the Brave



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