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The 12th Annual Rhode Island International Film Festival
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 30, 2008
WEDDING BELL BLUES: Justin Tensen and Simon Miller in Between Love & Goodbye.

The 12th Annual Rhode Island International Film Festival is certainly all grown-up, 25 years after it started out as a Newport film society called Flickers.

This year the festival, taking place August 5-10 at 14 locations in Providence and five more around the state, will host 58 world premieres and 41 North American premieres. The 289 films chosen for screening were selected from more than 3000 submissions from 53 countries.

Celebrities attending will include Blythe Danner, John Ratzenberger, Dan Butler, and Richard Jenkins.

The opening night gala and screening will take place at the Providence Performing Arts Center, with a Salute to the Art of the Short Film at 7 pm, as 10 films from several countries are shown. Master of Ceremonies will be Ratzenberger, known best as Cliff Clavin on Cheers. That will be followed by a 9 pm party at PPAC. Film tickets are $20; tickets to the screening and post-party are $50, available at Most of the festival films are $10, also available online with a small service fee.

Twenty film sidebars will group many of the films according to subject matter and interest, such as sci-fi and fantasy, horror, underground, gay-lesbian-bi, health, Franco-American, Asian, Jewish, and student films.

Below are some promising films that should cover just about anyone’s interest. Locations are in Providence, unless otherwise noted.

DOG DAYS: Justin Rice in Let Them Chirp Awhile.

Narrative Features
Between Love & Goodbye
Directed by Casper Andreas, 96m, USA
August 10 @ 7:15 pm | Cable Car Cinema
So that Frenchman Marcel can stay in the USA with Kyle, he marries their lesbian friend Sarah. Enter Kyle’s sister April, a former prostitute, needing a place to crash. How, he wonders, do you choose between family and the love of your life?

Blue Tooth Virgin
Directed by Russell Brown, 80m, USA
August 6 @ 7 pm | Cable Car Cinema
Sam, an aspiring screenwriter, and David, a successful magazine editor, must face a dilemma common to anyone who has ever had an artistic friend: What happens when you have to give feedback, and the news isn’t good?

Directed by Rick Bieber, 104m, USA
August 7 @ 9:15 pm | Columbus Theatre Arts Center
Inspired by the life of Hank Garland, this is the story of the legendary guitar player who emerged from Nashville in the 1950s. Blessed with natural talent, Hank quickly establishes his repu-tation as the finest session player in Nashville, but he finds the business component restrictive and frustrating.

Let Them Chirp Awhile
Directed by Jonathan Blitstein, 91m, USA
August 6 @ 9:15 pm | Columbus Theatre Arts Center
Chronicling a New York month in the life of a 20-something screenwriter and the puppy he is forced to babysit, this was written and directed by 23-year-old Blitstein on a shoe-string budget and filmed in 18 days. It’s a 35mm shout-out to all who struggle through relationships and writer’s block.

The Village Barbershop
Directed by Chris Ford, 99m, USA
August 6 @ 7 pm | Columbus Theatre Arts Center
Starring John Ratzenberger, this is the tale of a widowed, small-time barber stuck in a rut of haircuts and horse books. When he loses his cutting partner of 20 years, he’s faced with closing Reno’s last men’s barbershop or hiring the last person on earth he’d ever want working there — a woman.

Documentary Features
A Nashville State Of Mind
Directed by John-Martin Vogel, 83m, USA
August 10 @ 12 pm | Cable Car Cinema
Shining a light on Nashville’s alternative music scene and the music industry in general, the film follows Samantha Gibb — daughter of the Bee Gees’ Maurice Gibb — and her band M.E.G.’s when they move to Nashville after her father’s death.

Baghdad Diary
Directed by Joseph and Sandra Consentino, 90m, Norway + USA
August 10 @ 3 pm | Columbus Theatre Arts Center
In March 2003, a Norwegian journalist smuggled a video camcorder into Iraq for Fadil Kadom, a 36-year-old Iraqi taxi driver. The resulting documentary on the Iraq War and its aftermath takes two unique perspectives: an Iraqi man and his family struggling to survive and an American television cameraman embedded at the front lines with the US Army.

BAD TO THE BONE? The subject of Boogie
Man: The Lee Atwater Story.
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story
Directed by Stefan Forbes, 90m, USA
August 9 @ 5:15 pm | Columbus Theatre Arts Center
Lee Atwater was a blues-playing rogue whose rambunctious rise from the South to GOP national party chairman made him a political rock star. Eye-opening interviews with friends and foes examine Atwater’s crucial role in the victories of President Reagan and both Presidents Bush.

The Greening Of Southie
Directed by Ian Cheney, 85m, USA + Bolivia
August 9 @ 11 am | Columbus Theatre Arts Center
On the streets of South Boston, a new kind of building is rising — the city’s first residential green building. The Macallen Building is a $75-million luxury condominium tower, made from recycled steel, sustainable hardwoods, and wheatboard cabinetry.

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  Topics: Features , John Ratzenberger , Lee Atwater , Columbus Theatre Arts Center ,  More more >
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