Eugene Movies

7th Annual Eugene International Film Festival Begins Oct. 19


When you first meet Mike Dilley, President and Director of the Eugene International Film Festival (EIFF), you realize quickly how passionate he is about film. Acting like a child who just returned from a little league game, Mike can’t wait to share with me the lineup of films being presented this year.

The 7th annual Eugene International Film Festival runs October 19-21.

With 25 years of experience in film as a producer, director, camera and/or soundman, as well as a speaker and writer covering the business, Mike seems like a qualified candidate for organizing a film festival. Dilley says,

“Honestly, the story that I tell people is the first time I fell in love with movies is when my mom left me at the theater to watch Peter Pan. As a kid I loved that movie and I think that’s what really hooked me. I watched it several times in the theater. I was probably there every day.”

The 7th annual Eugene International Film Festival runs October 19-21. Celebrating films short and feature-length, as well as a number of genres including animated, documentary and drama, the festival will showcase films from all over the world. The festival kicks off Thursday, October 18, with an evening meet and greet for the filmmakers to network with professionals in the movie business including producers, distributors and agents. Then the official three days of the festival consist of the screenings.

But the EIFF is a place where everyone can feel like they’re auditioning. In addition to the films; aspiring screenwriters, filmmakers or just film buffs have an opportunity to attend a screenwriting workshop which will take place concurrently with the festival.

EIFF President and Director Mike Dilley, picture on the left, has a passion for cinema.

Consisting of 9 hours over 3 days, the screenwriters/filmmakers retreat gives participants a hands-on experience where they will come up with story ideas, develop characters, learn about basic three-act structure and pitch their ideas to a professional screenwriter, agent, producer or illustrator.

The professionals include: Tom Sawyer, a screenwriter and novelist who was head writer on the classic CBS series, Murder, She Wrote; Ken Sherman, President of his own literary agency; Terryl Whitlatch who studied illustration at the California College of Arts and went on to work for Industrial Light and Magic and Pixar; and Mike Katchman, a successful marketing agent who worked for Orion Films when they were producing such hits as Dances with Wolves and Silence of the Lambs.

Dilley believes it’s important for aspiring filmmakers to learn every aspect of the business and he encourages anyone with a passion for film to sign up for the workshop. He says,

“I think it’s important to understand the whole process. I love the mechanics of the business and I really love the business of the business. If there’s one secret, it’s starting with a great script. You’ve got to do a good job with aspects such as casting and directing, but I’ve seen movies that are technically and beautifully shot, but there’s no story to them. That’s what we try to hammer home.”

There will be 62 films presented this year with the majority of them screening at the Regal Theater at Valley River Center. However, for the first time, the festival will also be available at the Cinemark Theater in Springfield. Check out the festival’s schedule for more details on showtimes.

This being an international film festival, films presented this year come from as far away as Australia, Toronto, the Bahamas and Taiwan — to as close as Portland and Eugene. According to Dilley, a common subject usually emerges at the festival. This year it’s music. Here’s a sneak peak at a few American films celebrating the art of music.

Image from “For the Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Revival.”

For the Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Revival: Documentary – USA

For the Love of the Music explores the history of Club 47 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with emphasis on the years 1959-1968. Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film traces the career of Joan Baez and the evolution of the folk revival from the interpretation of traditional ballads to the singer-songwriter era.

Singing Bill O’Reilly: Documentary – USA

In 2004, political commentator Bill O’Reilly was sued by co-worker Andrea Mackris. Shortly after the multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement was announced, Seattle composer Igor Keller decided to create and self-produce a classical Baroque-style oratorio out of the text of the legal complaint, which includes transcripts of O’Reilly’s audio-taped phone calls to Mackris.

Singing Bill O’Reilly documents the dogged determination required by the creative process while simultaneously exploring questions of power, the place of social commentary in classical music, and the nature of artistic obsession.

The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads: Documentary – USA

Located beneath the alpine splendor of the Teton Mountains, the “Coach” has long been welcoming an eclectic and evolving cocktail of characters – from cowboys to millionaires, tourists to extreme athletes, drifters to musicians, disco dancers to two-steppers – both young and old. This film paints an intimate portrait of a roadhouse and crossroads that has been creating its own brand of community for more than 70 years in ways that both define and defy our visions of the Wild West.

The festival aims to be an all encompassing experience for movie fans to learn every aspect of filmmaking. Dilley can remember the specific event in his life that lead him into the movie business.

“I met a guy who was a producer on a film called The Way West and he asked me if I wanted to work on the film and I said sure. It sounded like something to do for kicks. So I went out there the next day and never looked back.”

Image from “Animal House of Blues.”

He speaks glowingly about Animal House of Blues, one of two films premiering for the first time at this year’s festival. But according to Dilley, they’ve had a good run of quality films from the very beginning. Dilley states,

“We’ve always had good movies. I don’t know if it’s dumb luck but even the first two years we were getting movies from Disney and some other pretty good studios. As the festival gets more recognition in the filmmaking community, we’ve seen a transition from mostly shorts in the first year to more feature-length films now.”

Dilley is happy with this year’s entries and believes there’s something for everyone. So movie fans eager to breakaway from the usual Hollywood fare should check out this year’s EIFF. At the very least you’ll take in a little culture and be amongst others who share the same passion for movies.

For more information about EIFF, visit the festival website.

Toomb’s New Releases for Friday 4/15


It’s that time of the week again my fellow Eugeneans, and by now you know what that means! The spring movie extravaganza continues with a star-studded, historical epic/super-sequel/animated-adventure weekend. Hollywood is pulling out all the stops it has before heavy-hitters like Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean land in a few weeks.

First up is the period piece from director Robert Redford, The Conspirator. The Conspirator is the tale of Mary Surratt, the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. It stars Robin Wright, James McAvory, Evan Rachel Wood, Tom Wilkinson, and Kevin Kline. Mary Surratt, 42, owned a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the assassination. Against the back-drop of post-Civil War DC, new attorney Frederick Aiken, a Union war-hero, agrees to represent Surratt before a military tribunal. While the trial goes on, Aiken finds his client may in fact be innocent. She is merely being used as bait and as a hostage in order to capture her son, the only conspirator to have escaped the largest manhunt in history. The Conspirator is rated PG-13 for some violent content.

Next is the family-friendly animated adventure Rio3D. If the title isn’t enough to make you skip ahead, you’ll be interested to know the Jesse Eisenberg, who played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, adds his voice to Blu- one of the only two remaining Blu Macaws in the world. Rio3D follows Blu as he sets off for, you guessed it, Rio, to find the other remaining macaw, who just so happens to be the bird of his dreams. Hilarity ensues. Rio3D is rated PG for mild off color humor.

Lastly is the movie that is going to have millions of girlfriends gripping their honeys’ arms blue- Scream 4. Directed by master of horror Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Redline, and the original versions of Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes), and penned by Scream writer Kevin Williamson, this slasher-homage/series re-boot is getting astoundingly good reviews (for a slasher film). The original cast, what remains, is back with a new crowd of fresh-faced victims for the latest ghostface killer. Reviews would have me believe this is the best in the series, and that it has more gore, slashes, twists, and surprises than the first 3 combined. I cannot wait to see this movie! Scream 4 is rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking.

Everyone buckle in, spring is well in gear and summer is around the bend. Are you  prepared for this summer’s blockbuster season? Are you stockpiling money away and calculating how long it will take to get to the theater on a bike (because gas will be more expensive than a movie this summer for the first time)? I’ll see you on the bike path and in the movie!