Another year, another film festival |

Another year, another film festival

Ted Alvarez

I grew up on Ghostbusters. I built a proton pack for halloween out of cardboard and spare vacuum cleaner parts. But when the time came to tell Harold Ramis – Mr. Egon Spengler to you Philistines out there – exactly what he meant to my childhood, I had to let the moment slip away.Egon was just too busy in the VIP room.Yet again, the Vail Film Festival brought a little sparkle to the Valley this year, as celebs mixed out in the open with press, film buffs and lifties alike. The fest featured a wildly eclectic slate of films, with Iraq-centric war documentaries vying for screen space with low-budget horror movies and French dramas. In the end, “Murder Party,” a horror-comedy about a Brooklyn art collective trying to score a grant by killing someone on Halloween for the sake of art (whew!), took home the Best Feature award.Best Documentary went to “When Adnan Comes Home,” a wrenching portrait of a scarred Iraqi youth in prison. The Best Short film award went to R.L. Hooker’s “A Knife Grinder’s Tale,” and the jury awarded “Somewhere in the City” with Best Student Film. A special Action Sports award was given to “Shelter from the Storm,” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” starring D.B. Sweeney and “Scrubs”‘ John C. McGinley, nabbed the coveted Audience Award.The halls of the Cascade and the parking lot at Crossroads were usually abuzz with chatter about what had just screened, and as crowds scattered listeners could catch snippets of on-the-spot armchair reviews. Some film festival attendees were just visiting Vail for the usual reasons when they happened upon the festival.”We just sort of heard about it after we arrived – it was a pleasant surprise,” said Kelly Rowland of Nashville, Tenn. after a screening of the sheep-gone-zombie horror comedy “Black Sheep.” But did she enjoy the bloody, wooly film?”I’ll never look at sheep the same way again,” she said.Even when technical flubs threatened to mar the film experience, someone gamely stepped in to save the day. During a screening of “The Entrepreneur,” the projector failed with 20 minutes left of the film to go. But filmmaker Jonathan Bricklin and film namesake Malcolm Bricklin heroically jumped onstage, explained the rest of the film, and fielded questions from the audience.Though some screenings were held on Sunday, the spiritual conclusion of the festival happened at Eagle’s Nest on Saturday night during the official closing night party. Scarfed filmmakers milled to and from the bar, stopping and talking with fans and fellow directors and producers. “Sinner” star Georgina Cates, looking cozy in a black knit hat, talked animatedly at the center of tight-knit ring of young dudes. “Daydreamer” stars Arielle Kebbel and Aaron Paul walked back and forth between the main party room and the improvised VIP room to the left of the bar and just behind the vegetable tray.But Ramis never left the confines of the VIP room, and once I gained access, he was swarmed with 15-20 people, all claiming “Groundhhog Day” as their favorite movie of all time. The bar ran out of booze, and people began to file out, staging impromptu hula-hoop contests in the lobby as they left.Reluctantly, I left as well, taking a forlorn hit off my complimentary oxygen bottle as I left. Next time, Ramis. Next time.Arts & Entertainment writer Ted Alvarez can be reached at 748-2939 or Daily, Vail, Colorado

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