A cinematic living legend will play a role at this year’s Film Fest Tucson.
Director, actor and film historian Peter Bogdanovich, whose résumé behind the camera includes “The Last Picture Show,” “Paper Moon” and “Mask,” will sit-in on screenings of “Winchester ’73” and “The Last Picture Show” on Friday, Oct. 11, with a question-and-answer session taking place in between the films.
Bogdanovich’s participation is a feather in the cap for organizers of the film festival, which runs Thursday, Oct. 10 to Saturday, Oct. 12, says fest director, Herb Stratford.
“Mr. Bogdanovich is a link to Old Hollywood,” Stratford said. “There aren’t a lot of those folks around anymore. It seemed like a really cool opportunity to not only shine a light on Tucson’s film history, but to have a conversation with him.
“How often in Tucson do you get to talk seminal films with seminal filmmakers?”
Bogdanovich is a major highlight at this year’s fest, which will take place on seven screens across four venues this year, including the Fox Tucson Theatre and the Scottish Rite, downtown.
Films on the schedule run the gamut, offering a little something for everyone.
Among the choices is “Marriage Story,” screening on Saturday, Oct. 12., which stars Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Ray Liotta and Laura Dern, and follows a family in the throes of a bitter divorce.
“Marriage Story” debuted at the Venice film festival in August. It will have a limited theatrical release on Nov. 6 and is slated to stream on Netflix starting Dec. 6.
“147 Pianos,” also on Saturday, is one of several documentaries on the schedule.
It looks at a gathering in 2013 that brought nearly 200 musicians to an old warehouse in Chicago to play a room full of dilapidated pianos in concert.
Also screening is Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat,” with Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman. The film finds Streep’s character, Ellen Martin, biting off more than she can chew after investigating a fake insurance policy while on vacation.
“We want to give voice to emerging filmmakers, but we also want to give some sizzle,” Stratford said. “We want to give folks the opportunity to see things they may be hearing about.”
Projects with ties to Tucson can be found throughout the weekend.
“Cactus Boy,” which was filmed in Tucson and will screen on Saturday, follows a man who is finding it hard to shake his imaginary friend, a large, Groot-like saguaro cactus, in the face of true love.
“¡Gaytino! Made in America,” also screening on Saturday, takes Dan Guerrero, son of Tucson musician Lalo Guerrero, and his one-man play about his journey to Broadway and Hollywood, to the big screen.
“The Tradition of the Mexican Nacimiento” is a recently restored documentary from 1982. The found footage documents the making of Tucson’s famed Nativity scene and other Christmas traditions.
“It is a great, little time capsule of the history of that tradition and what it means in Mexican culture,” Stratford said.
Stratford said the film festival strives to be diverse with its selections.
“These are important stories,” Stratford said. “We want to make sure people see them.”