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Annual film festival transcends borders

Directors Terence Nance, Gerardo Naranjo on hand for screenings

The Monterey Bay Film Festival is back for its fifth year and it’s bigger and better than ever.

Under the auspices of the Monterey Bay Film Society, the festival has grown to three days and a pair of locations.

This year’s festival will be held Sept. 7-9. It opens with a showing of Terence Nance’s “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” a love story that cleverly incorporates animated fragments into its experimental narrative. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 7, in CSU Monterey Bay’s World Theater. A question-and-answer session with the director (pictured at left) will follow the screening. General admission tickets are $10; $5 for students and military. Tickets may be purchased online.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, young filmmakers will be in the spotlight as 15 short works – all under 5 minutes – will be shown starting at 1 p.m. in the World Theater. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. for this free event.

Nearly 300 films were submitted by 13- to 19-year-olds. Some came from local teenagers – including incarcerated youth in Salinas – others came were throughout California. One was submitted by a teen filmmaker in Kenya; another came from Ecuador.

On the evening of Sept. 8, the festival moves to the Museum of Monterey with a 7:30 p.m. showing of “Miss Bala,” followed by a question-and-answer session with the director, Gerardo Naranjo (pictured at right). General admission tickets are $10; $5 for students and military, and may be purchased online.

“Miss Bala" – bala means bullet – takes viewers to the front lines of Mexico's devastating, unending drug wars. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim and was Mexico’s foreign language Oscar submission. The San Francisco Chronicle has called it “tense and propulsive.”

Sunday, Sept. 9, features a screening of selected short films from the Wholphin collection. Wholphin, a quarterly DVD magazine, discovers and promotes short films and makes them available by subscription. The screening will get under way at 3 p.m. at the Museum of Monterey. General admission tickets are $10; $5 for students and military. Buy tickets online.

The Monterey Bay Film Society is the Central Coast’s premiere organization for independent filmmaking, media art and community and is presented by the Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department at CSU Monterey Bay. Its mission is to promote the cinematic arts with year-round programs and works to develop and support the unique voice of the local communities.

It also provides free media workshops for at-risk and underserved youngsters throughout Monterey County.

CSUMB’s Enid Baxter Blader and Chris Carpenter are co-directors. Creative director is Mike Plante of the Sundance Film Festival. Plante will be in attendance at the festival.

The World Theater is located on Sixth Avenue near the intersection with A Street. Driving directions and a campus map are available here.

For information on the festival, call Jennifer Benge at (831) 582-3743 or visit the web.

Learn more about CSUMB’s Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department.


Friday, Sept. 7 • 7:30 p.m. – Screening of “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” followed by question-and-answer session with filmmaker Terence Nance. CSUMB’s World Theater, Sixth Avenue near A Street, $10 general admission, $5 for students/military. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.

Saturday, Sept. 8 • 1 p.m. – Teen program featuring 15 short films and Q-and-A with the filmmakers. CSUMB’s World Theater, free

• 7:30 p.m. – Screening of “Miss Bala” followed by Q-and-A with filmmaker Gerardo Naranjo. Musuem of Monterey, 5 Custom Housse Plaza, $10 general admission, $5 students/military

Sunday, Sept. 9 • 3 p.m. – Screening of “Best of Wholphin Shorts,” followed by Q-and-A, Museum of Monterey, 5 Custom House Plaza, $10 general admission, $5 students/military

Photo of Gerardo Naranjo by Juan Carlos Polanco