Flyover Film Festival 2011: Bringing Kentuckians to the National Film Dialogue

No, this isn’t Park City, Utah. It’s also not Austin, New York, Telluride, or Toronto, and it’s definitely not Cannes. This is the Derby City, and yes, we have a film festival too. According to Tracy Heightchew of the Louisville Film Society, the 3rd annual Flyover Film Festival is all about giving, “Kentuckians a voice in the national scene,” and this year’s outing stands to be the largest and most successful endeavor yet towards that most noble of goals.

Flyover Film Festival exists as both an off-broadway Sundance of sorts as well as a showcase of Kentucky talent, but its most pressing goal is to serve as a oasis of intelligent and challenging movie exposure to local and regional cinephiles alike that would otherwise find themselves completely shut out of the festival circuit. This year’s festival, taking place this this Thursday (June 9) through Sunday (June 12) across seven different local venues, will feature nine full-length features, about half of which involve Kentuckians in some capacity, as well as three different batches of short films. Preparation this time round also included the acceptance of open submissions for the first time in the festival’s history.

Michelle Williams in Meek's Cutoff

One film of note from this weekend’s lineup, ‘Meek’s Cutoff’, is the story of three families traveling west amidst the earliest days of the Oregon trail, only to have their so-called guide lead them to vast desert and debilitating hunger. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path with promise of a way out the group must decide whether or not to trust a a figure that has always been seen as a natural enemy. With a cast that includes the likes of Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood and Paul Dano, ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ was directed by Kelly Reichardt and will play at U of L’s Floyd Theater on Saturday, June 11 at 9pm.

In what is a film festival staple, a number of the films at this year’s Flyover Fest will also feature post-screening question and answer sessions with creators and actors from the various projects. Among these, Friday night’s screening of ‘The Lie’, as adapted from the T.C. Boyle short story about a made-up excuse gone horribly wrong, will feature a Q&A with director Joshua Leonard, actor Jess Weixler and editor Greg O’Bryant, while the screening of the Eastern Kentucky coal-country drama ‘Passenger Pigeons’ will feature a Q&A with director Martha Stephens. It’s these Q&A sessions that will really set Flyover apart as compared to other local/regional events. Not only will attendees have access to festival circuit films unavailable otherwise, but they’ll also be able to take part in an intelligent dialogue with the filmmakers themselves.

Amongst the various venues partaking in Flyover 3 are the Dreamland Film Center, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and the Green Building, but the most unique experience to be had all weekend might just come with Sunday night’s close-out screening of ‘The Catechism Cataclysm ‘(staring Steve Little of HBO’s ‘Eastbound & Down’) under the stars at the Louisville Visual Art Association. Admittedly, Flyover Film Festival might not be for everyone (that’s by design), but those who do attend will experience a challenging and enlightening array of niche and off-beat films, an opportunity to interact with real-life filmmakers, a showcase of great local venues and plenty of chances to connect with other film fanatics in the community. To all you burgeoning cinephiles out there, what more could you possibly ask for?

Those interested may fly on over to for loads more info on all of this weekend’s festivities.


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