Throughout the 1960s and '70s, small personal films, or those studio projects not easily categorized or deemed too risky or unmarketable, could usually be screened only at the local repertory or revival art house theater after their all-too-brief stay in the local cineplex. Film enthusiasts regularly came together in that darkened secular temple to view films that didn't quite fit the studios - commercially viable mold. And those traits - their decided quirkiness, ambiguous lead characters, and unconventional story telling techniques - that set these films apart from their more marketable cousins are what makes them so special and worthy of attention. Sadly, as it has been and will always be, the film business is just that, a business. And the harsh economic realities of today's market have put even more at risk those films which are stamped as being outside the mainstream or those that do not display, immediately, the ability to hit the mega-bucks box-office home run.
These days, it is a rare occasion, indeed, where a film is allowed the luxury of building an audience through word of mouth. Before the buzz can get out, the film, more than likely, is already gone. Obviously, this neglect is a source of extreme frustration for some of our most talented directors working today, not to mention the film-going public. Esteemed filmmakers and Cinequest guests Philip Kaufman, Walter Hill and Ron Shelton have seen some of their most inspired work go through the pangs of inception and production, only to be abandoned for one strange reason or another.
Cinequest is extremely pleased and honored to have one of its most stellar panels ever for a provocative discussion on some of these ill-fated, orphaned pictures. Join directors Walter Hill, Philip Kaufman, Ron Shelton, and special guest editor Paul Seydor as they share their tribulations with San Francisco film critic Michael Sragow about projects to which they devoted a good part of their lives: films that were painstakingly produced, then inexplicably abandoned. In a rare treat, festival attendees will be able to screen some of these superior pieces of filmmaking as they were meant to be seen, on the large screen.
Don't miss this opportunity to see Walter Hill and his films, Wild Bill and Trespass, Philip Kaufman and his Henry & June and The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid, and Ron Shelton with his Blaze and Cobb. For anyone who loves film, this is an event not to be missed. - Pete Crane