Red Rock Best of Fest hosts movie marathon, Beard Party

CEDAR CITY – The 7th Annual Red Rock Best of Fest will be held at the Heritage Center Theater in Cedar City on Friday. The all night marathon of diverse films will announce its Grand Jury winners from the Red Rock Film Festival and admission to the screenings include all four showtimes. The redeye event will also host a beard contest at a separate Beard Party after the films.

“Beards will be all over the festival,” Matt Marxteyn, the festival’s director, said. “Men, women and children can have beards. Like the independent film, beards can be short, long, animated, dramatic and well-documented.”

The variety of films range from animation to documentary, shorts to features. Filled with anticipation the films will not be announced until they are introduced as Grand Jury winners during the six hour event. Of the 363 films submitted last year, 65 were screened and approximately 16 films will be presented and awarded at the Best of Fest.

This festival from Utah is becoming well-known around the world and there are already more than 300 entries for the next festival. The Festival made MovieMaker Magazine’s list of “Top Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in both 2009 and 2013, and a simple visit to its Facebook page reveals most fans are from Latin countries.

The biggest race in the competition is for the Grand Jury title of “Best Animation Short” and “Best Documentary Feature.” Both audience winner Timothy Reckart’s animated Oscar nominee “Head Over Heels” and Peter Vacz’s “Rabbit and Deer” are close contenders.

In the documentary finalists there is John Davies “The 25,000 Mile Love Story” which won the audience award at the Festival, Beth and George Gage’s “Bidder 70”, Brian Griffo’s “Driving Blind”, and Theo Love’s “Little Hope Was Arson.” “Driving Blind” has a very good chance at winning the Festival’s Aglet Award — the festival’s micro-budget award.

Emmy-award winner Michael Goorjian who won the Audience Award for both Best Fiction Featurette and Best Fiction Feature has a good chance of the Grand Jury Prize with “The Magic Hand of Chance”. Other Fiction Features the jury has their eye on is Sarah Knight’s fantasy drama “Vino Veritas” which stars Carrie Preston of HBO’s “True Blood” as well as Benoit Cohen’s “You’ll Be a Man” which had jury member Stacy Dymalski talking about its acting.

With almost two dozen films competing for Best Fiction Short, the grand jury has their score sheets loaded at the cross section of shorts which included some collegiate shorts that scored so high they were included in the main fiction category as well. Of the fiction shorts festival favorite Ryan Park and G.B. Shannon have returned with “Pretty Monsters.” Audience award winners Fara Pasarell’s “The Visit” and Benoit Desjardins’ “Welcome Yankee” have a good chance.

Besides “Yankee” several other Canadian films are in the finals including Carnior Carnior’s “3 Men and an Iron Mask”, Rémi St-Michel’s “The Deer”, and Michaël Lalancette’s dark family drama “First Snow”. Other finalists in the Fiction Shorts category include Stephanie Assimacopoulo’s “The Blue Train”, Sophia Savage’s “Empyrean” and Dehanza Rogers’ “Sweet, Sweet Country” which recently won the DGA Student Grand Prize Award.

All-ages are invited to both the screenings and the beard contest at its late hours Beard Party. Winning contestants will be awarded for best natural and artificial beards with drinks, food and games including “beard pong.” The beard contest is open to all men, women and children — the first 30 women and children to remain awake through the entire movie marathon.

Event details and resources

  • What: The Red Rock Best of Fest
  • When: Friday, March 21
  • Where: Heritage Center Theater, 105 North and 100 East, Cedar City
  • Red Marathon Passes: $10 for the event are good for all screenings all night
  • Beard Party tickets: $15 | Beard contest applicants can enter for $20 online which includes admission to the 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. showings for the Red Rock Best of Fest and admission to the Beard Party
  • Ticket purchase: Available at the Theater | Online | By phone at 435-705-5555

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