PRLog - Nov. 9, 2011 - LAS VEGAS -- Since the CineVegas International Film Festival was put on hold in 2010 after an 11-year run, Las Vegas has been in need of a solid replacement. Award-winning television producer and filmmaker Derek Stonebarger is hoping his VEGAS INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL! (VIFF!) will soon fill the void.
“We are pretty new to the film festival circuit, but VIFF! is a festival created by independent filmmakers, for independent filmmakers, looking to carry on with the same passion, excitement and energy that made CineVegas so great,” Stonebarger said. "I've traveled the globe with my films and been fortunate to screen at many festivals, good and bad. I'm using that knowledge to make VIFF! the most prestigious festival in Las
VIFF! will take place in the "Entertainment Capital of the World" November 16-20. The festival, which will be held at the Century Orleans Theater (4500 W Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89103) and theatre7 (1406 South 3rd Street, Las Vegas, NV 89104), aims to screen a broad range of dynamic and engaging independent features, documentaries, short films, student films, music videos and more. The international event offers a unique opportunity for theatrical distribution through arthouse screenings for all of its winners of Golden Bulbs, which are certified to have been taken directly from the world famous 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign.
"Just as the bulbs have been hand selected, the films of VIFF! were all chosen by myself and a team of filmmakers,"
The festival gets started with a kickoff party at theatre7 on Nov. 16 as indie film legend Ted V. Mikels becomes the first Las Vegan in history to have his hands immortalized in Sin City's concrete. Mikels has been making films for six decades and has held every possible position there is to have on a project. At 82 years old Mikels is currently completing his latest film Astro Zombies: M4 - Invaders from Cyberspace.
A red carpet event at the Century Orleans Theater on Nov. 17 ushers in the film screenings of VIFF!. The Vegas premiere of Dana Packardʼs 40 West is slated for 5:30 p.m. as the opening night film. The film features Las Vegas icon Wayne Newton, who will walk the red carpet prior to the screening. A screening block of shorts at 8 p.m. will include the thriller Blackstone, which stars adult film star turned actress Sasha Grey (Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience), and Pay Your Respects, a dark comedy ode to Quentin Tarantino. The official after party follows at 10 p.m. at the TAO nightclub in the Venetian. Celebrity guests from the screenings will be in attendance.
On Oct. 18 the screenings move to theatre7 for the Vegas premiere of Hollywood to Dollywood, John Lavin's documentary about twin brothers from North Carolina riding on the fumes of a dream in an RV named Jolene to meet their idol Dolly Parton. The screening will include the world premiere of Talin Malekian's short Venus vs. Mars. After party at Piranha follows.
Screenings at theatre7 on Nov. 19 start at 1 p.m. with a block of shorts that include Love on Saturday, Side Effect, Guitar Man, Meeting Point, Cold Feet, Walter Was Here, and Zombie Chick. Avid presents a free screening at 4 p.m. that includes the short AGENT MX-Z3RO. A presentation on Avid's award-winning video and audio production solutions will follow the film. The screening block will also include the Las Vegas premiere ofSean McCarthy's thriller Boxed Up. The Las Vegas debut of David Marek's feature Somewhere West at 7 p.m. will wrap the day's screenings. The official after party closes the night in the arts district at Bar + Bistro.
Red carpet events at the Century Orleans with two world premieres of Las Vegas made projects closes the festival on Nov. 20. The western short The Adventures of Loop & Rhett, starring Loop Rawlins and Michael Tushaus, and directed by Michael Su, screens at 12:30 p.m. Sean Jackson's Bubblegum & Broken Fingers, starring Brenna Daly, Camme Tyla, George Dabling, Kris Mayeshiro, and Mandy Williams follows at 3 p.m. A
filmmaker send off party is slated for 5 p.m. at McMullans Irish Pub.
"I am so impressed with all of the talent we are going to be screening," Stonebarger said. "We've been able to secure some amazing films, and VIFF!'s future is quickly looking brighter than the bulbs we give out as awards."
Launched by an enthusiastic group of movie and art lovers, CineVegas had its debut in 1998. The festival screened fewer than 30 projects and less than 5,000 people attended. Dennis Hopper assumed the position of Chair of the CineVegas Creative Advisory Board in 2004 after receiving the festivalʼs prestigious Marquee Award in 2003. By 2006 the event was named one of the top five gem festivals in the world by Variety.
VIFF! had an even quieter beginning. There was no festival in 2010, but the event was born when Stonebarger decided to give golden bulbs from the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign, to the four films he had signed on to screen at his upcoming arthouse theatre, which later launched in March 2011.
"The festival is now going to the next level," Stonebarger said. "And it's going to levels other festivals don't go to. We plan on screening other VIFF! selections throughout the year and some of the winning films will receive arthouse distribution in hopes of helping jumpstart major distribution for these projects."
The events are open to the public and some events are free! Tickets for screenings start at just $7 and are available at http://www.vegasiff.com/
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Dedicated to true independent film and the discovery and distribution of filmmakers who DO NOT have theatrical distribution, the VEGAS INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL! furthers the art, craft and business of storytelling by inspiring and championing the work of artists who use the language of film to share their visions - while offering a unique outlet to showcase noteworthy and winning films through our network of partners and indie movie theaters. Besides a theatrical distribution run, every category winning filmmaker also receives the coveted "Golden Bulb Award" which is certified to have lit the world famous 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign!