Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson. Damsel. Regie/director: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson in Damsel.

The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival (MLFF) announced their feature film line-up, as well as the Opening and Closing Night films, for the fourth edition of the festival, taking place May 23 through 27 at venues across Mammoth Lakes.

The 2018 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival will open with Damsel on Wednesday, May 23. Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska star in a comedic homage to classic Westerns. Samuel (Pattinson), is a businessman who sets out to rescue his kidnapped fiancée Penelope (Wasikowska). The situation turns out to be more complicated than it first appears, and Penelope is no mere damsel in distress. The film from Magnolia Pictures is directed and written by David Zellner and Nathan Zellner.

Love, Gilda
Love, Gilda

The festival will close with the documentary film Love, Gilda on Sunday, May 27. In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner reflects on her life and career. Weaving together her recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with friends (Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Laraine Newman, Paul Shaffer and Martin Short), rare home movies and diaries read by modern-day comedians inspired by Gilda (Bill Hader, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Cecily Strong), Love, Gilda opens up a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story. The film from CNN Films is directed by Lisa D’Apolito.

“We’re excited to bring such a dynamic and diverse lineup to this year’s festival,” said Festival Director Shira Dubrovner. “In four short years, we’ve already begun to establish MLFF as a must-attend festival thanks to our scenic and majestic backdrop of the Eastern Sierra and world-class cinema.”

“MLFF focuses on films that have powerful, innovative artistic voices,” said Director of Programming Paul Sbrizzi. “We look forward to bringing our festival-goers the bold style and thought-provoking stories found in this year’s slate.”

The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival line-up

Core Competitions

Narrative Features:

Birds Without Feathers – In this pitch-black comedy, six broken individuals unable to make a human connection will give everything away in an attempt to receive love. Directed and written by Wendy McColm. West Coast Premiere

Fort Maria – A sensitive, lyrical look at an agoraphobic Bulgarian woman and her adopted African-American daughter, as they each evaluate their lives and their relationship after the death of the beloved family dog. Directed and written by S. Cagney Gentry and Thom Southerland.

My Name Is Myeisha – A charming, talented teenage girl crosses over into a candy-coated hip-hop-musical dreamscape on the fateful night she crosses paths with police. Directed by Gus Krieger, written by Rickerby Hinds.

The Queen of Hollywood Blvd. – On her 60th birthday, the proud owner of a Los Angeles strip club finds herself in hot water, leading her on a downward spiral of violence and revenge. Directed and written by Orson Oblowitz. West Coast Premiere

Rock Steady Row – A college freshman’s bike is stolen and he’s compelled to go to battle with the comic-book villain that rules the reigning fraternity using Walkmen and No. 2 pencils as weapons. Directed by Trevor Stevens, written by Bomani J. Story.

Documentary Features:

Buddha.mov – Lured by the chance of being the protagonist of a documentary film, Buddha Dev starts authorizing unrestricted access into the most private parts of his life. Directed by Kabir Mehta. West Coast Premiere

Crime + Punishment – A group of brave officers risk it all to expose the truth about illegal quota practices in the NYPD. Directed by Steven Maing.

Minding the Gap – The lives of three young skateboarding friends grow together and apart as they try to process childhood trauma and escape the cycle of domestic violence in their Rust Belt hometown. Directed by Bing Liu.

Tourists – A disturbing and hilarious trip around the world, observed through the amateur cinematography of naïve, outspoken and judgmental middle-class tourists. Directed by Mateusz Romaszkan and Marta Wójtowicz-Wcislo. North American Premiere

Vianey – New Jersey and Bronx based underground hip hop artist Vianey Otero (Icey Trap) discusses growing up on the streets, the lure of escorting, everyday life in jail, and being a female artist in the music industry. Directed by Marko Vuorinen. West Coast Premiere

White Tide: The Legend of Culebra – There’s an island, there’s a map, there’s buried treasure… $2 million dollars just waiting for someone to dig it up. There’s just one slight problem: it happens to be in cocaine form. Directed by Theo Love. West Coast Premiere

Foreign Features:

Barren and Empty the Sea (Spain) – Esteban wakes up one morning and everybody accuses him of being a stranger that happens to look just like Esteban.Directed and written by Lucas Parnes Pereira and Jesus Serna. International Premiere

Melodrama / Random / Melbourne! (Australia) – A feminist documentarian, a pick up artist and a virgin’s lives collide, and blood will be shed on neon-lit streets of Melbourne. Directed by Matthew Pastor, written by Celina Yuen and Matthew Victor Pastor. North American Premiere

Tower. A Bright Day (Poland) Just before her daughter’s First Holy Communion, Mula’s long lost sister Kaja pays them a visit, harboring a secret. The family believes in reconciliation, but Mula has her reasons to be afraid. Directed and written by Jagoda Szelc. North American Premiere

Vidar the Vampire (Norway) – The wildly hilarious adventure of a Christian farmer searching for a higher purpose to life, who falls into sin and wakes up as the Prince of Darkness in the city of Stavanger, Norway. Directed and written by Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland.

Spotlight Presentations:

Dyna Does Dressage – Documentary about the first mule ever to compete at the national level in the competitive equestrian sport of dressage. Directed by Sarah Crowe.

Home + Away – A group of students with family on both sides of the US/Mexico border navigate academics, athletic competition, a school in need of greater funding and familial strife during the their final year at a Texas high school. Directed by Matt Ogens. West Coast Premiere

On Her Shoulders – Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi genocide and ISIS sex slave survivor, becomes the voice of her people and their best hope to spur the world to action.Directed by Alexandria Bombach.

Pick of the Litter –  The story of puppies from the moment they’re born through their quest to become guide dogs for the blind, the ultimate canine career. Directed by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy Jr.

A Woman Captured – Director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter’s incredible document of the evolving consciousness of a Hungarian woman who has been held as a domestic slave for 10 years and decides to undertake a daring escape. Directed by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter. West Coast Premiere

The festival will also feature Short Film Programs of 26 Narrative Shorts, 10 Documentary Shorts, 11 Animation Shorts and a program of classic animation from East Germany. Over $40,000 in cash and prizes will be given out in nine categories to this year’s films in competition.  Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 27 at a Closing Night reception.

The 2018 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Jurors

Allison Amon (EVP Sales & Development, Bullitt)
Lindsey Bahr (Associated Press)
Peter Baxter (Filmmaker; President/Co-Founder, Slamdance)
Shalini Dore (Variety)
Alonso Duralde (TheWrap)
Tim Rhys (MovieMaker Magazine)
Vincent Spano (Actor)
Nicole Sperling (Vanity Fair)
Rachel Winter (Producer)
Ana Souza (Sundance Film Festival)
Scenery Samundra (Tru Thoughts, NTS Radio)

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