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by Zach Breneman, Managing Director of The Loft Film Fest

To say that I’m pretty pumped about this year’s film fest lineup would both be exactly the kind of thing I would say and a severe understatement. This is our best lineup yet, and I can’t wait to share it with our audiences.

The great / horrible thing about attending a film festival is the fact that you have to make tough choices. With two films playing at the same time, inevitable decisions must be made: will you see the experimental German film that takes place entirely in one family’s apartment and features absolutely zero exposition, or will you see the documentary about fabulous women who age into extreme fashion? Like I said: tough choices. Here would be my schedule, were I not working during the fest.

The Last Picture Show with Larry McMurtry (10/16 7:00PM) vs. Goodbye to Language (10/16 7:30PM) –
While I would love to see the new film from legendary iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard (and his first in 3-D!), I’ve got to go with a 35mm screening of one of the greatest coming-of-age films ever, with the incredible novelist / screenwriter Larry McMurtry in person to receive The Lofty Lifetime Achievement Award.

Song from the Forest (10/17 Noon) vs. Born to Fly (10/17 12:30PM)
If dance is your thing, this is an obvious choice. If ethnomusicology and existentialism are your things, it’s equally obvious. Song from the Forest wins out for me.

The Strange Little Cat (10/17 2:30PM) vs. Advanced Style (10/17 3:00PM)
Let me tell you about a thing that we call Loft Office Porn (not what it sounds like). When a film is universally loved by the programming committee and we can’t stop talking / thinking about it because it offers a rare view of the world through a completely cinematic lens, we call it Loft Office Porn. The Strange Little Cat is one of those movies. I can’t wait to see it again.

The Way He Looks (10/17 4:30PM) vs. Fort Tilden with Clare McNulty (10/17 5:00PM)
This is a hard one. Both films are critically-acclaimed festival favorites. After The Strange Little Cat, I’m looking for something funny and smart, so I’m going on a trek across New York in a daylight, millennial version of After Hours with Fort Tilden. Plus I can’t wait to hear from star (and Tucson native!) Clare McNulty!

The Winding Stream (10/17 7:00PM) vs. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter with David and Nathan Zellner (10/17 7:30PM)
The Winding Stream
is a really great film about the musical mavens the Carter family, and if that interests you or sounds like it might–it will! But for me, the Zellner brothers have created a true masterpiece with Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. What could have been played for cheap laughs is an empathetic and beautiful film. Unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time, and I’d see it again in a heartbeat.

Late Night Shorts (10/17 9:30PM) vs. The Babadook (10/17 10:00PM)
I don’t play fair. For this one I’m abstaining, because I can’t choose between the two. There are so many jaw-dropping moments in the Late Night Shorts program that your face will hurt by the end. And The Babadook is the best new horror film I’ve seen since… I don’t even know when. Since I don’t actually have to choose, I won’t. I don’t envy the rest of you.

Mudbloods with Farzad Sangari (10/18 11:00AM) vs. Little Accidents (10/18 11:30AM)
While Little Accidents is an impeccably-acted powerhouse of a drama that I would recommend very highly, Mudbloods is just plain fun, and that’s how I want to start my day. I’m also looking forward to hearing from director Farzad Sangari about how he got into the whole quidditch circle. It’s wacky stuff.

A Day Without a Mexican with Sergio Arau and Yareli Arizmendi (10/18 1:30PM) vs. Short Film Showcase (10/18 2:00PM)
Another extremely difficult choice, made harder by the fact that two of the best people on earth will be in person for a screening of their still-relevant satire (in 35mm!), but I’m going to live with my choice and pick the Short Film Showcase, because it’s packed with talented filmmakers, many of whom will be in person at the screening!

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (10/18 4:15PM) vs. The Internet’s Own Boy with Brian Knappenberger and Kirby Dick (10/18 4:45PM)
While Isao Takahata directed one of my favorite animated films of all time (Grave of the Fireflies), and I am looking forward to his new one, I will wait a little while longer, because the Kirby Dick Humanitarian Award is one of my favorite things to come out of last year’s festival. This year’s iteration of the award will be going to the extremely talented filmmaker Brian Knappenberger, who has directed one of the year’s best, most infuriating documentaries. The discussion with Kirby and Brian after the film will no doubt be a great one.

Nebraska with Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach (10/18 7:00PM) vs. White Bird in a Blizzard (10/18 7:30PM)
I pretty much lost it when I heard both Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach would be coming in for a screening of one of my favorite films of last year. Even though I love Gregg Araki and Shailene Woodley, I’m definitely going for Nebraska on this one.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (10/18 9:45PM) vs. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (10/18 10:15PM)
I’m probably playing this one by ear, depending on my mood. Am I in the mood for super cool, moody and stylish horror? Then I’m going for A Girl. If, however, I’m in the mood for explosions and Nazi zombies and yucking it up, I’m definitely going for Dead Snow 2.

I Am Big Bird (10/19 11:30AM) vs. Memphis (10/18 Noon)
Besides not wanting to cry in public (Big Bird gets me every time), I’m all aboard the Loft Office Pornmobile (see earlier) for Memphis. Seriously, though, this is a gorgeous, layered film. And it’s preceded by one of the best shorts in the festival, “Person to Person.”

Dinosaur 13 (10/19 1:45PM) vs. Zero Motivation (10/18 2:15PM)
I love dinosaurs and scandals, but not as much as I love the Israeli female equivalent of M.A.S.H. Sign me up for Zero Motivation.

An Evening with Bruce Dern (10/19 4:30PM) vs. Girlhood (10/19 4:45PM)
There are two LEGENDS in the house. As much as I want to see Girlhood (I loved Tomboy), I can’t deny the allure of hearing Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach tell stories for a couple of hours.

This May Be the Last Time (10/19 7:00PM) vs. The Tribe (10/19 7:15PM)
When something is described as “pure cinema,” I can’t not watch it. I will be ending my film fest with a slice of pizza, a double-serving of some beer and The Tribe.

Catch the full film fest program and make your OWN decisions RIGHT HERE!