Free international film festival featured in Carson City

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The fourth annual International Film Weekend on Feb. 16-18 will feature three full-length movies, along with several short independent films.

“Our whole reason for being here is we want to highlight films that show our common humanity and films that show understanding of other cultures,” said Linda Bellegray, a festival organizer. “The films we choose also have to have some degree of film craft, many of them are Sundance or Oscar winners.”

The free film weekend sprung from a book club at the Methodist Church in which members read international books.

“In reading the books, the idea came up, let’s watch the film that pairs with the book,” Bellegray said. “Then we said, wouldn’t this be cool for the community. We could have a film festival.”

The first year, the festival was held at the First United Methodist Church, but has since grown to the Carson City Community Center, with about 700 people attending throughout the weekend.

This year’s festival kicks off on Feb. 16 with the “Wolf Totem.” “The Look of Silence” will be Feb. 17 and “Cinema Paradiso” on Feb. 18. The feature films will each begin at 7 p.m.

Independent films will be shown 3-5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Kari Barber, journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, will premiere her feature-length “Struggle of Hope,” which chronicles the proposed relocation of blacks into Oklahoma after the Civil War.

Her students will also be showing their short documentaries.

“If people are interested in real life, this is a reflection of how young people see life,” Bellegray said. “You see the issues that are significant for them.”

A discussion will follow the showing of each film.

“In years past, people have been so enthusiastic to chat,” said fellow organizer Ursula Carlson. “It brings people together and lets them exchange ideas. It makes it feel like an evening at home.”

Organizers paired with the Friends of the Carson City Library as the nonprofit umbrella. In working with the library, Bellegray said the committee works to find movies that are educational. She pointed out many of the films have mature themes and aren’t suitable for children.

“We believe in helping the community become aware of other cultures,” she said.

Carlson urged people to attend.

“If you’ve never been to an independent film, this will really be an eye-opening experience,” Carlson said.


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