Asheville Cinema Festival Delivers Fresh Outlook



It’s hard to imagine what Sundance was like, back when it was just a pint-sized festival where passionate filmmakers convened to discuss thought-provoking films before it became the mob scene it is today, full of paparazzi and publicity stunts. If we had to take a guess, though, we imagine it’d be something like North Carolina’s Asheville Cinema Festival.

The festival is an extension of the Asheville Cinema Society (ACS), an organization founded in 2010 by a dedicated group of film lovers. Its goal: to support small projects that push the boundaries of contemporary filmmaking. The Asheville Cinema Festival provides the perfect opportunity to showcase lesser known films in one place and in front of a broad audience.

The festival’s opening night film Silver Linings, which took top honors at the Toronto Film Festival and features Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, will doubtless screen in front of a packed house on November 1. The rest of the week offers a variety of screenings in every genre imaginable from documentary to narrative drama to black comedy, plus Q+As with filmmakers, a chic festival party, an awards ceremony, and classic film character impersonators.

But it’s closing night that most excites us, when ACS will screen Dustin Hoffman’s new film, Quartet.

Hoffman, known predominantly for his acclaimed acting career that has spanned decades and includes films as varied as Tootsie and The Graduate , is also a talented filmmaker. In Quartet, he’s traded in Simon and Garfunkel for arias–the film centers on a retirement home for opera singers, just going about their autumnal days, until disrupted by an outspoken, perpetual diva, played by Dame Maggie Smith. Quartet premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, where it received three standing ovations. We’re expecting at least four from the impassioned ACS crowds.

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