#HIFF2013: Focus On the Arts

HIFF2013 is almost upon us! While you’re browsing through our extensive slate, don’t miss these great titles that focus on the arts:

Wang Guangyi, at the height of his career as one of China’s most successful contemporary artists, is settling into middle age with increasing ambivalence, a front line witness to his scene’s contradictory commercial impulses. Liu Gang is a supremely promising new face on the scene, plucked from art school into the high gloss world of corporate sponsored gallery openings and fawning (and largely Western) curators.

This hugely entertaining documentary tracks the supernova career of one of our most beloved modern composers. A real showman with a love for theatrics, Hamlisch became a household name, a rare distinction for a composer. Don’t miss this rousing biographical portrait, bursting with Hamlisch’s hit music and featuring interviews with dozens of performing legends.

Bob Birdnow is a curious candidate for a motivational speaker. Balding, crippled, and past middle-aged. He does have something no one else has though: a remarkable tale of human survival and the transcendence of self. When asked by his old friend to speak at a conference, he avoids the subject, opting for a more traditional speech. However, when forced off the script and desperate, Birdnow takes the audience on an unforgettable journey that brings us face-to face with one of life’s biggest questions.

The Shooting Gallery was one of the premier production companies for independent film in the 1990s, responsible for art-house hits like Laws of Gravity, Sling Blade, and You Can Count on Me. After the success of fellow alum Hal Hartley, a cabal of grads from SUNY Purchase decided to start a fast-paced company with a can-do, DIY attitude. But success came at a cost. Director Whitney Ransick, one of the original crew, retells a fascinating, universal story about the “Enron of independent films”.

Photojournalist John G. Morris began his career as a photo editor for some of the world’s most important publications in the 1930s. Having worked internationally with legendary photographers, such as Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, as they documented every major event and catastrophe from World War II onwards, Morris shows the stunning images he helped bring to the public’s attention decade after decade and shares the stories of those who captured them.

With dialogue taken from actual black box transcripts of six real-life major airline emergencies, Charlie Victor Romeo is a haunting, riveting theatrical experience superbly translated to film. Started on stage in 1999 at the Collective: Unconscious Theater on the Lower East Side, this compelling, almost experimental piece recreates the tense cockpit scenes word-for-word based on the CVR, or Cockpit Voice Recorder. It is truly unique cinema, stretching the boundaries of film, theater, and the traditional documentary.