• Filmsnob: Toshiro Mifune

    “He was like the ocean. The ocean is boundless but sometimes very turbulent.”

    This month presents a golden opportunity in sharing my admiration for whom I consider the best actor ever, Toshiro Mifune. It's no secret that my favorite film genre is Chanbara, or samurai cinema. 

  • Noteworthy: Hey, DuDE!

    There are but a handful of words in our esteemed lexicon that have traveled the circuitous path from slang to colloquialism to vaunted positioning in the hallowed papyrus pages of the Oxford Dictionary. 

    "Cool" resides here possibly because of its panoply of meanings. Defined as "fashionably attractive or impressive," it still bears the dreaded "informal" moniker and places in third among meanings. (One of today's vast array of equivalents, "dank," still has its original definition still attached. Although "hangry" made it.)

  • FilmSnob: Eyes of Laura Mars

    “And we’ll use murder to sell deodorant.”

    Two years before directing The Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner helmed The Eyes of Laura Mars. Written by upstart John Carpenter, with a torch song by Barbara Streisand, and starring Faye Dunaway, who had recently won an Oscar for Network, this should have been a smash hit when it premiered in 1978. Instead, it joined its brethren in the annals of forgotten film archives. The visual and artistic choices certainly date this film, molding it into a great time capsule period piece. 

  • AWARD SHOW looks TO BE BIGGEST, BEST

    When Signature Magazine publisher David Gustafson threw out the idea of hosting a Oscar-style, red carpet award show in conjunction with FestivalSouth’s annual ‘Best of the Pine Belt’ competition five years ago, even his own staff raised an eyebrow or two.
    But thanks to their encouragement and hard work – and the overwhelming support of the greater Pine Belt community – the annual Best of the Pine Belt Award Show became a reality and has quickly become one of the biggest and most-talked-about nights of the year.

  • Filmsnob: Miles Doleac

    Homo Universalis – doing important work at home

  • Prologue: Join Us As We Celebrate

    I have been fortunate to be a part of FestivalSouth since its inception. Though I have been involved in many facets of the event, it has been my distinct privilege to serve as artistic director for the past five years. Building on the incredible strengths of our community, FestivalSouth has become synonymous with excellence in the arts, offering programming and representing the wealth of talent we enjoy as a community.

  • Persepolis: Satrapi directs her own story like a seasoned veteran

    Up to 1979, Iran was on a fast track to modernism. The clothing fashions looked straight out of Vogue, and under the monarchy of the Shah, quality of life was improving rapidly. Unfortunately, the Iranian Revolution occurred, orchestrated by religious zealots, and concluded with the American-backed Shah going into exile. Many progressive Muslims were faced with an Islamic conservative power. To this day, the governmental policies do not reflect the will of the Iranian people.

  • Blowup: Sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, and fashion photography

    In an ironic twist to its message, Blowup has been nearly forgotten in time. Wining the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, this 1966 counterculture film reached critical acclaim and box office success, and was even nominated for a couple of Oscars. Yet, today, since we are so far removed from the mod scene in ‘60s Britain, this film could easily be seen as pretentious, instead of symbolic. Tragically, that destroys the entire message: the importance of film and celluloid preservation. Admittedly, I had to watch this twice before I was lumped into the latter opinion.  

  • Film Snob: The Rest of My Life

    “If it’s dark or bright, I’ve got to go where you are”  - Duke Ellington’s ‘Chlo-E’

    Mood Indigo was a novel published in 1947, and if read with that in mind will raise an eyebrow to the genius that was Boris Vian. Vian died in 1959 at the ripe age of 39 at a screening of I Will Spit on Your Graves, another film that had been adapted from his literary works. 

  • Film Snob: Valley Girl

    A chick from the valley and a punk from the city.

    Released in April 1983, and shot in just 21 days on a shoestring budget that went mostly to cover the soundtrack and where the cast had to provide their own clothes for their characters’ wardrobes, Valley Girl may just be the penultimate story of star-crossed lovers.

    Inspired from Frank Zappa’s song of the same name, the producers had hoped to make a quick buck and gave the director, Martha Coolidge, total creative freedom as long as she promised to include partial nudity.

    Total boob count by the way? Seven.

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