By Brian Hickey
Without the glitz and glam of Sundance or Cannes, the Santa Cruz Film Festival is more like a third cousin of traditional film fests. And while the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal or Peter Sarsgaard will not be in attendance, we do get Paul Reubens and David Arquette.
Thursday kicks off “Stay Tuned,” the sixth annual Santa Cruz Film Festival. And while it may not produce any million-dollar deals, it will be one hundred percent Santa Cruz.
With brief runs in the ’70s and ’80s, the current iteration of the festival began in 2001 with Executive Director Jane Sullivan. She was inspired to reignite the dormant festival during a 2001 student film screening at CSU Monterey Bay. The films she saw that day had a different voice than mainstream cinema, and she found it refreshing. Since that day, over 30,000 film patrons have seen movies at the Santa Cruz Film Festival.
This year’s theme, “Stay Tuned,” is meant to shine a spotlight on an oft-ignored aspect of filmmaking: sound. A majority of the films are music-themed and backed up with live concerts.
The festival will include films from indie hopefuls, industry vets, and even UC Santa Cruz students. Jay Wertzler, a fourth-year film student, will be showing his film, Gas Farming. (see sidebar)
For some, the main attraction this year is David Arquette’s directorial debut, The Tripper. The film’s premier, the opening event this year, is on Thursday. The film has a wider release the next day on Apr. 20, a possible wink to some of the themes of the film.
Arquette describes his film as a “campy horror film with a twisted political satire,” which is the kind of description that makes viewers either drool in anticipation or cry in sadness.
He is being described in all press materials as “best known for his role as Deputy Dewey in the Scream trilogy,” something he must be just thrilled with.
Patrons who have paid to see The Tripper can later use their ticket stub to attend an opening night party at the Museum of Art & History.
Arquette, Lukas Haas, Paul Reubens and Brad Hunt are scheduled to be there. Additional attractions for the evening include music, drink, food and a screening of James Brown: The Lost Tapes, said to include a 20-minute version of “Sex Machine” that Brown himself described as his best.
Not all the thrills are Arquette-related, as Sullivan is quick to point out.
“One of the things I’m most excited about is Ten Inch Hero,” Sullivan said in reference to a coming-of-age tale that “will speak to [the UCSC] demographic.” (see sidebar)
All of the festival’s films will be shown at local theatres The Rio, The Riverfront Twin, or the Del Mar. The festival also includes music shows and educational events.
_For more information, go to www.SantaCruzFilmFestival._