Southern Filmmakers Travel to Lafayette to Showcase Independent Film

LAFAYETTE, LA - The Bayou Vermilion District's Vermilionville will continue their role as a screening partner for the South Arts Southern Circuit of Independent Filmmakers on Monday, November 18 at 6:30 p.m. with Harvest by filmmaker John Beck.

As part of the Southern Circuit Vermilionville will be hosting filmmakers who will screen their films and host a discussion following each screening. The season began in September and will go through November, resuming in February and going through March.

Admission to each of the screenings will be $10 and includes entry into a raffle as well as a wine tasting that will accompany the film. Food and beverages will be available for purchase for these all ages screening. See below for more info about the upcoming screening as well as upcoming films or visit to view the trailers and to purchase advanced tickets.

Shot entirely in Sonoma County, the feature-length documentary "Harvest" reveals the blood, sweat and tears that go into every bottle of wine. There is no swirling, no sniffing, no sipping or quaffing. This is all about back-breaking manual labor and night picks at 2:00 a.m. with only tiny headlamps. The film follows five family wineries - Robledo, Rafanelli, Foppiano, Harvest Moon and Robert Hunter -- over the course of three months during the harvest in 2011. It would turn out to be the worst harvest in Sonoma County in at least 50 years. This is the story behind the wine you drink. 

Bay Area filmmaker and journalist John Beck splits his time between directing and producing documentaries, shooting promotional video and writing freelance journalism. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a journalist in Sonoma County where "Harvest" is set among the vineyards. His previous films, the feature-length "Worst in Show," and shorts "Stringers" and "Drag King," have won numerous film festival awards. His print stories have won national awards from the Society for Features Journalism and the Association of Sunday and Features Editors. Beck was born in Nashville, TN, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of South Arts. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. South Arts is a nonprofit regional arts organization founded in 1975 to build on the South's unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts' work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts.

Wednesday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m.
"Bidder 70"
Filmmaker: Beth & George Gage
"Bidder 70" follows college student Tim DeChristopher, who derailed President Bush's widely protested federal oil and gas lease auction. Bidding 1.8 million dollars, he saved 22,000 acres surrounding Utah's National Parks with no intention to pay or drill. The Obama administration agreed to save the land and invalidated the auction, but indicted Tim on two felonies facing ten years in prison. "Bidder 70" illuminates how the choices we make determine our future and the world we live in.

George and Beth Gage, as Gage & Gage Productions, have created award-winning documentaries since 1993. Gage & Gage Productions creates compelling personal films that empower viewers, initiate dialogue and prompt action on provocative issues. Concentrating on the environment and social justice, they present issues underrepresented in the current media. Their films educate, entertain, inspire and motivate viewers to become actively involved in humanitarian and climate justice issues. Their films have been distributed theatrically, on television, educationally and for consumer DVD. They have screened in national and international markets. The films have won dozens of awards at national and international film festivals and have been highly acclaimed by film reviewers.

Monday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m.
"Perfect Strangers"
Filmmaker: Jan Krawitz

"Perfect Strangers" tells the story of two unique and engaging characters. One is Ellie, who embarks on an unpredictable journey of twists and turns, determined to give away one of her kidneys. Five hundred miles away, Kathy endures nightly dialysis and loses hope of receiving a transplant until Ellie reads her profile on an online website. Both women face unexpected challenges as their parallel stories unfold over the course of four years. The film explores the ineffable magnitude of Ellie's gift and the burden of responsibility that accompanies it, for both donor and recipient. Intimate scenes with Ellie, Kathy, and their families reveal the complicated physical and emotional terrain of organ donation.

Jan Krawitz has been independently producing documentary films for 35 years. Her work has been exhibited at film festivals in the United States and abroad, including Sundance, the New York Film Festival, Nyon, Edinburgh, AFI/Silverdocs, London, Sydney, Full Frame, South by Southwest and the Flaherty Film Seminar. Her most recent film, "Big Enough" was broadcast on the national PBS series P.O.V. and internationally in eighteen countries. Krawitz is currently the director of the M.F.A. program in Documentary Film and Video in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University.

Monday, April 14
"The Retrieval"
Filmmaker: Chris Eska
On the outskirts of the Civil War, "The Retrieval" follows a fatherless 13-year-old boy sent north by his bounty hunter gang on a dangerous mission to retrieve a wanted man under false pretense. During their journey towards the unwitting man's reckoning, the initially distant pair develops unexpected bonds. As his feelings grow, the boy is consumed by conflicting emotions and a gut-wrenching ultimate decision: betray the father figure he's finally found or risk being killed by his gang for insubordination.

Chris Eska was raised in the village of Ottine, Texas (pop. 98). He studied sociology and art at Rice University before attending UCLA's MFA film directing program. His short films have screened on PBS, at the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker's Competition, the Texas Filmmaker's Showcase, and at film festivals worldwide. "Doki-Doki," his UCLA master's thesis film, premiered on the national PBS series Independent Lens with an introduction by Susan Sarandon. His first feature, "August Evening," won the $50,000 Target Filmmaker Award and was nominated for two 2008 Independent Spirit Awards, where it took home the Cassavetes Award.


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