Mt. Hood Indie Film Fest returns

Three days, five screens, 100-plus films, with special 3-D segment

Call it “Something for Everyone.”

The second annual Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival runs Nov. 8-10 on five screens at four locations in downtown Hood River, and will present short and full-length films from Hood River to Iran, with student, experimental, adult and adventure films filling the fare. A family-themed segment has been added this year.

Admission runs from $15 for daily passes to VIP passes for $100. “Rush” tickets for individual shows are made available for $10.

(See columbiaarts.org to order and for details.)

Saturday’s slate of 3-D films and a workshop and presentation on the art of 3-D will be one highlight of the festival, this year with more than 100 films. A jury chose from nearly 300 films submitted to MHIFF. MHIFF is one of only five in the U.S. with a 3-D component, according to festival director Catherine Butler.

“We have more films this year, and some really strong short films,” Butler said.

The films run the gamut of genres, interest areas and appeals; on the other end of the spectrum from the family films in the library are Student Adult Themes, which include sci-fi and other genres not appropriate for young people to see. The Adults Only segment features mature films, NC-17 among them, and horror.

Local films include “Jordan’s Watch” and “Libel” by Zach Zoller, and Dan McCabe’s “7 Minutes of Heaven,” shot for the Hood River 48-Hour Film Festival last summer. It shows at 7 p.m. Sunday at Skylight.

“It’s such a fun movie, all done in one shot,” Butler said.

Other local films are “Rainforest Waters,” by David Saget, who also did “Ghostfish,” shown in the family films; and “Stroker,” by Manny Marquez.

The three-day festival includes “Curfew,” which won the Oscar for Best Short Live film in 2012, a narrative about an uncle and niece, being made into full-length film.

Kicking off the festival on Friday at Columbia Center for the Arts are three films including “Walking the Camano,” by Lydia Smith, which won Best Documentary at Ashland Film Festival. It is about the pilgrimage to the famed shrine in Spain, and a group of people who have just finished hiking the Camano are scheduled to speak. They are friends of Arlene Burns, a film festival supporter.

The kickoff starts with a 6 p.m. reception, and the first screening at the arts center at 7 p.m., rounded out by “Je Veux,” (“I Want,”) which documents a French pop singer climbing with her band to the top of Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, and performing from the peak; and “Avery Hill,” a 3-minute film about the singer by the same name. Hill is scheduled to perform in the lobby during the kickoff.

Filmmakers are expected at 13 of the segments, and several segments include Q-and-A discussions.

Films are presented in thematic segments including “Empowered Women,” “Connect to Nature,” “Church of Music,” “Profiles of People,” “Adults Only” and “Power Shorts.” The segments generally reflect common themes or similar styles.

“I try to give them a name so people have some idea,” Butler said.

“Rocking Docs” is a segment featuring one of the festival’s strong suits: documentaries.

Some of the intriguing titles include “High and Hallowed,” (83 minutes) about the 1963 first ascent of Mount Everest by an American mountaineering team; filmmaker David Norton will be present.

“Duk County” tells the story of doctors who went to the new nation of South Sudan to help a village cure blindness. “More Than Two Hours,” a 15-minute film from Iran, shown at Cannes, showcases a couple trying to get medical treatment, by pretending they’re married.

“Not Anymore” documents a Syrian woman’s efforts to photograph, wearing a bullet-proof vest and her helmet, the civil war raging in her country.

The Saturday 3-D segment features Jesse Blanchard, who invented the Roberts rig 3-D camera. He chose Springhouse Cellar as venue for the 3-D segment, because the audience needs to only face forward.

On Saturday, representatives of the Portland animation studio Laika (“Coraline,” the upcoming “Box Troll”) will give a 5 p.m. presentation followed by Blanchard’s 6:30 p.m. workshop. Butler said the sessions will focus on how you make a 3-D film, including animation, and how to project in 3-D.

A selection of short 3-D films will start at 7. The films will include “Shine,” screened in 2-D at the Portland Film Festival.

The same venues as 2012 are to be used this year: Springhouse, Skylight Theatre and the main theatre and studio at CCA. Added this year is Hood River Library, where a group of family films will be shown on Saturday at 1 p.m., for discounted $5 admission.

Butler said there are eight local films this year, fewer than last year, but they include a workshop by Hood River’s Manny Marquez, who will present his documentary “Stroker,” on cartoonist Tom Medley, whose work was well-known in Hot Rod Magazine for many years. Marquez works for About Face Media, which does commercial documentaries.

Marquez will give a workshop on Saturday on making music videos, of which he has made more than 40.

Festival co-director Dan McCabe selected a variety of films for one segment, “Dan’s Potpourri.”

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