Loft Film Fest returns with Oscar hopefuls

Pima Post

After an “intermission” in 2020, The Loft Film Fest will be back in full force this year.

The impressive lineup of national and international movies was collected from the most important festivals in the cinematic realm, including Cannes Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.

One heavy-hitter — “Parallel Mothers” — undoubtedly will be contending for Oscars in 2022.

“Parallel Mothers” is the highly anticipated film by Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, and will be opening the festival on Nov. 10. The Loft Cinema’s 11th annual international film festival will run through Nov. 18. Ticket prices and availability vary.

This screening will be the Arizona premiere for the film but will be released in U.S. theaters on Dec. 24.

Every movie Almodóvar makes gets the attention of the Academy Awards, and this one is gaining a lot of traction, along with Penelope Cruz’s performance.

Cruz previously won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as “María Elena” in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008).

And if she does receive a nod from the Academy for this role, it will be her second nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The first one was for “Volver” — another Almodóvar film.

The festival will conclude Nov. 18 with “Julia,” a documentary about the iconic Julia Child — a spy who turned into a groundbreaking celebrity chef and became one of America’s most beloved public figures. 

Julie Cohen and Betsy West, the directors of the 2018 Academy Award-nominated documentary “RBG,”  are behind the camera for this project. And judging by the press and festival appearances for “Julia,” it looks like the directorial duo will receive their second nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2022.

Some people think fIlm festivals focus on showing artsy and weird movies. But The Loft Film Fest organizers did an amazing job at cooking up a palatable slate of movies for a variety of tastes.

In a preview event a couple of Sundays ago, Program Director Jeff Yanc hosted a screening of trailers for the most notable movies of the festival. Beside the two movies already mentioned, these stood out from the rest:

  • “Holy Frit” — an American comedic documentary that lets you in behind the curtain of how the art world and high-priced art commissions truly work.
  • “The Rose Maker” — a French comedy-drama film about a small business trying to keep up in the gigantic floral industry.
  • “Ninjababy” — a raunchy comedy from Norway that feels like the indie and quirky version of “Knocked Up.”

After watching the Almodóvar melodrama, you can mix it up with some comedy. Or if you’re into dramas and more intense movies, the ones that jumped out were:

  • “The Humans” — an adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play, featuring an all-star cast that surely will be critically acclaimed and recognized with awards.
  • “Hive” — a drama from Kosovo, based on the true story of beekeeper Fahrije Hoti. This film cleaned up at the Sundance film festival, and became the first movie in Sundance history to win the Audience Award, Directing Award and World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.
  • “A Hero” — another intense drama by Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi. There was no trailer shown for this film at the preview event, but it will be part of the festival. 

It should be noted that “A Hero” received the Grand Prix Award at Cannes, an indication that we’ll be hearing a lot from this movie come Oscars time. So Farhadi, who is a crisp 2 for 2 in his nominations at the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, might get his third nomination in 2022.

The Loft is a membership-supported nonprofit arts organization that progressively has risen to prominence in the art house theater scene and is a member of the Sundance Art House Project. 

Every year, The Loft Film Fest consistently screens great films curated from the most prestigious film festivals. This is a chance to get an early look at a couple of movies that will stand out during awards season and the Oscars.

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