film festival tourism

CineVegas

Why Go: To see Las Vegas and catch a few movies in the process.

 

Festival Description

If you’ve always been curious to see Las Vegas, this is a good way to do it. You can alternate long hikes around labyrinthine hotel lobbies with sedentary interludes in movie theaters watching the latest in American indie and foreign cinema.

 

Festival Website: http://www.cinevegas.com/cv/index.php

Timing: Ten days during the middle of June.

Dates for 2009: June 11-20

Programming

CineVegas calls itself “the world’s most dangerous film festival.” What this means is hard to figure out since you’re more likely to collapse from heat prostration if you dare to step out of your hotel room into the June Vegas sun than to be threatened by anything you may see in the movie theaters. Yes, the film selection emphasizes sex more than most other fests, but not to the exclusion of other kinds of fare. The programming leans heavily towards American indie productions with a few international titles thrown in for good measure. Separate programs are devoted to short films; another special section features Mexican cinema and generally includes some provocative titles from the Mexican New Wave.

Tickets

$10 each online for regular screenings. Passes and packages are also available. Regular screenings rarely sell out, so getting tickets is ordinarily not a problem.

Special Guests

With a lavish budget and Dennis Hopper as its honorary chairman, CineVegas draws a fair share of Hollywood celebrities. International filmmakers, however, are unlikely to appear.

Audience

Some industry and press mingle with locals and a few out-of-towners.

Screening Venues:

Palm Casino Multiplex Cinemas. These are small theaters but newish.

Screening Schedule

Films begin at 1pm every day and continue long into the night.

Program Notes

The festival puts out a daily newsletter with stories on films and events.

Surroundings: Las Vegas.

Accommodations

All films are screened at the Palms Casino multiplex, which is on Flamingo Road about a mile west of Las Vegas Boulevard, the location of the Las Vegas strip. You can stay either at the Palms itself or at a hotel on the strip near Flamingo Road (Caesar’s Palace, Paris-Las Vegas, Bellagio). This is not high season for Vegas, so rates are lower than at some other times.

Getting Around

If you want to avoid renting a car and the hassle and expense of parking, you can easily take cabs to get around; these are not exorbitantly expensive. Alternately, you can catch the public bus that stops about every ten minutes at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard. There is also a shuttle between the Palms Casino and Caesar’s Palace, but it doesn’t run very often. Don’t try to walk outdoors; you’ll collapse from the heat, and besides there’s hardly anything worth seeing outside.

Restaurants

Las Vegas does not seem to me a place to enjoy gourmet cuisine unless one is a billionaire. The Palms complex itself has a food court adjacent to its theater complex, and the 24/7 bistro on the other side of the Palm’s huge lobby serves good light fare at all hours.

Excursions

Just finding your way out of one of the hotel lobbies is an excursion.

Mood Movies: Films set in Las Vegas you might want to watch before you go.

  • Leaving Las Vegas. A melancholy meditation on the underlying despair that props up the hedonistic Vegas lifestyle. Adapted in 1995 by director Mike Figgis from a novel by John O’Brien, it features a no-holds-barred lead performance by Nicholas Cage.
  • Casino.1995 seems to have been the year of great Las Vegas films. This one from director Martin Scorsese features Robert de Niro as a casino boss cum gangster.

THE FESTIVAL YEAR BY YEAR

2007

2007 Program Book

Best Film I Saw

Bad Habits. Mexican producer Simón Bross’s debut feature as a director is an incisive exploration of women’s eating issues. A truly brave performance by Elena de Haro as an anorexic mother anchors the piece.

Unexpected Pleasure

Kene Holliday’s brash antics in The Great World of Sound.

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