Monday, March 3, 2008

NaFF '08: Chillin' with Werner Herzog

Posted By on Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 9:41 AM

click to enlarge encounters.jpg
Who needs penguins when you've got the company of an obsessive German visionary? Encounters at the End of the World, the new documentary by Werner Herzog, has just been added to the lineup of the 2008 Nashville Film Festival, starting April 17 at Green Hills. Having braved some of the roughest terrain on earth—the jungles of Latin America, the wilds of Alaska, the hazards of international film financing—the Rescue Dawn/Grizzly Man director ventures to Antarctica for a look at scientific exploration in one of the planet's least hospitable climates. No word on whether Herzog will attend the festival. Encounters joins such previously announced NaFF attractions as Roy Andersson's You, the Living and Jose Luis Guerin's In the City of Sylvia; John Gianvito's acclaimed documentary Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind; new docs on Bela Fleck, Wanda Jackson and the L.A. session monsters known as The Wrecking Crew; and an appearance by Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal. After the jump: a few more NaFF titles and late-breaking entries. Also appearing on the 2008 NaFF schedule: • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer, a documentary portrait of the outspoken vocalist once nicknamed "the Jezebel of Jazz," co-directed by her former manager Robbie Cavolina and featuring some of the last interviews O'Day gave before her death in 2006. • The Art of Negative Thinking, Norwegian writer-director Bard Breien's bold black comedy about a furious paraplegic who defies the noble intentions of a therapy group. Variety's rave describes it as "Lars von Trier's The Idiots meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." • The Assassin, an homage to Jean-Pierre Melville's hard-boiled gangster reveries by Nashville native and TSU graduate Devin E. Haqq, who wrote, directed and stars as a New York hitman on the lam. • Bunnyland, in which Memphis documentary filmmaker Brett Hanover follows Johnny Tesar, "the self-proclaimed 'last Indian on the Trail of Tears,' " through a bizarre story involving ancient civilizations, bunny golf, intrigue in Pigeon Forge, and the mysterious death of a shitload of rabbits. • Canyon at 45, a tribute to vanguard experimental-film distributor Canyon Cinema hosted by Canyon executive director and filmmaker Dominic Angerame. Among the highlights: works by the late Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Ken Jacobs, Martin Arnold and Phil Solomon. • Cook County, writer-director David Pomes' domestic drama about a family wracked by crystal meth, starring Middle Tennessee native Anson Mount, Ryan Donowho and Xander Berkeley. • Up the Yangtze!, a well-received Sundance entry by director Yung Chang, who delves into the ironies of the tourist industry that has sprung up in the flood path of China's monstrous Three Gorges Dam. • Urban Assault: Escape from Poverty, a Nashville-shot documentary tackling the crisis of homelessness and hard times on the local front by director Rob McDonald. • Were the World Mine, a Shakespearean musical fantasy expanded by writer-director Thomas Gustafson (a location casting director whose credits include the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels) from his popular short "Fairies."

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