The third annual Moab International Film Festival announced that the headliners for this year’s festival will be “The Look of Silence,” a film by Joshua Oppenheimer about confronting genocide in Indonesia’s 1965 military coup, and “Two Americans,” a documentary presented in conjunction with the Moab Valley Multicultural Center about immigrants struggling against deportation and instigating an investigation of America’s toughest sheriff, Arizona’s Joe Arpaio.
Oppenheimer’s previous film about the 1965 genocide in Indonesia, “The Act of Killing,” examined the slaughter of a million civilians from the point-of-view of the perpetrators and received an Oscar nomination. In “The Look of Silence,” he continues his investigation of the events, following an optometrist as he confronts his brother’s murderers decades after the event and asks them to accept responsibility for their actions.
Asked why they made “Two Americans,” producers Dan DeVivo and Valeria Fernández said, “The targeted criminalization of undocumented immigrants is a disturbing trend in recent Arizona history. We wanted to make a film that would allow viewers to decide for themselves whether or not they agreed with this trend.” The film focuses on the effects of immigration raids and mass deportations on families and communities.
“Modern Intruder,” a comedy from Nic Barker, whose “Pint” won Best Comedy two years ago at Moab International Film Festival, will also be shown.
Highlights among the short film selections include Marc Martinez Jordán’s “Horseface,” which he describes as “a 20 Euro budget Comedy-Horror-Science fiction-thriller-Animal-Drama short film starring my grandmother and me;” “Chasing Life,” a coming of age film from India featuring three adolescents coming to terms with their friend’s untimely death; Dawn Westlake’s “Games People Play,” a darkly comic piece on the power of words that she says “makes a plea for the return to sincerity… using irony;” and British filmmaker Darren Langlands’ thriller “The Martyr,” which was screened twice at the Global Peace Film Festival in Orlando, Florida and won Best North West [UK] Short Film at Screen Stockport Independent Short Film and Television Festival.
The three-evening festival will run from Friday, November 20th through Sunday, November 23rd at Moab’s historic Star Hall. Valeria Fernández, producer of “Two Americans,” will offer a Q&A session after the screening of “Two Americans” on Friday. Other films, short and long, fictional and documentary, will fill out three evenings of contemporary and eclectic film. Screenings will run from 6 p.m. until late in the evening.
Choosing from over 600 submissions from around the world, the festival’s organizers selected films that, “have a positive effect on society,” and aim to promote independent films that might not find a platform otherwise. These films “do not promote or normalize unhealthy lifestyles or behaviors and are not influenced by a corporate agenda.” However, they also stress that the films are often controversial and are not necessarily family-friendly. For example they may even include full-frontal nudity. Films in past years have even attracted the attention of federal agents. Selections for the festival are ongoing and are regularly updated on the festival’s website.
Tickets and information about this year’s selections are available athttp://www.moabfilmfestival.org. A festival pass is available for $30, and tickets for individual screenings are $5. In Moab, tickets can be purchased at The T-Shirt Shop, Back of Beyond Books, and Canyonlands Copy Center.