With former CineVegas programmer (and current Sundance short films programmer) Mike Plante on board as “captain of strategy,” this year’s Las Vegas Film Festival is even more closely tied to CineVegas’ legacy and to the larger film festival world. Returning to the Palms, LVFF 2018 offers a number of feature films that have been building buzz and acclaim on the festival circuit, plus shorts programs, live events, parties and showcases for student films from UNLV, CSN and NSC. Here are five highlights to check out.
Damsel Filmmaking brothers David and Nathan Zellner are old CineVegas and LVFF favorites, going back to their weird early work, including their 2008 debut feature Goliath and several experimental short films. Damsel is the brothers’ most high-profile film to date, a quirky Western starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska, which Variety called “a refreshingly original thing.” June 6, 9:30 p.m.; June 9, 7:30 p.m.
Bobcat Presents Longtime CineVegas supporter Bobcat Goldthwait has brought several of his films to CineVegas and LVFF over the years, including his performance-art mockumentary Windy City Heat, his heartfelt documentary Call Me Lucky and a 25th-anniversary screening of his 1991 cult classic Shakes the Clown. This time around, Goldthwait will return to his stand-up comedy roots, alongside special guests including Bridget Everett and others to be announced. June 8, 11 p.m., Fremont Country Club.
An Evening With Don Hertzfeldt Animator Don Hertzfeldt has been creating weird and beautiful short films since 1995, with two Oscar nominations and two Sundance Grand Jury Prize wins, among many other awards and accolades. His 2015 short World of Tomorrow, a surreal sci-fi story constructed around interviews with his four-year-old niece, brought him to new levels of acclaim, and at LVFF he’ll be showing and discussing the sequel, World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts, along with selections from throughout his career. June 9, 5:30 p.m.
Minding the Gap The debut from filmmaker Bing Liu is a documentary about his own life growing up in Rockford, Illinois, and his bond with his two best friends, all three of them skateboarders with troubled home lives. Liu won the Breakthrough Filmmaking award in the documentary section at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and the film has picked up top honors at several other festivals since. Liu will be on-hand to discuss his unique personal vision. June 10, 2 p.m.
Music Video Lab A popular event at the festival for the past few years, the Music Video Lab pairs local filmmakers with local musicians to create original music videos especially for LVFF. This year’s participating musicians include Americana singer-songwriter Paige Overton, DJ/producer OLAN, alt-rockers The American Weather, singer-songwriters Sonia Barcelona and Cameron Calloway, and pop-punk band Indigo Kidd. June 10, 9:30 p.m.
LAS VEGAS FILM FESTIVAL June 6-10, times vary, $10-$15 per show, $100-$200 passes. Brenden Theaters at the Palms, lvff.com.