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Arts & Culture

7th Annual San Diego Film Festival

Tonight's opening feature stars Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, and Michael Pe & ntilde;a as the three very different soldiers who hook up and develop a strong bond. The film serves up just enough indie attitude to allow it to shun a Hollywood label but enough star power to attract filmgoers. Also in this category is Rian Johnson's The Brothers Bloom starring Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo as con men working a scam on a beautiful heiress played by Rachel Weisz. Johnson scored big with his hard-boiled teen flick Brick and this sophomore effort is drawing a lot of attention.

As a fan of horror I want to do a call out for people to support Pop Skull by Adam Wingard. I was introduced to the film by Aaron Soto who interviewed the director at Comic-Con. Calling it a horror film is a bit misleading because it doesn't deliver on the conventions of the genre but rather attempts to explode those boundaries with an innovative and intensely interior approach to filmmaking. His film is experimental and beautiful as it weaves an intriguing tale of a pill-popping young man and the ghosts in his life.

I also want to highlight some local filmmakers whose work I have been following and championing through the student festival I run, Film School Confidential. Destin Daniel Cretton and Lowell Frank have displayed a keen sense for production design as they have told stories about how people connect in unexpected ways. Their latest film is Short Term 12 (screening September 25 at 5pm and September 26 at noon) shows them maturing as filmmakers as they vary their approach and technique but still reveal a strong sense of humanism. Another local filmmaker serving up an encore of an older film is Joey Castanieto. He'll be showing Dead Body (September 25 at 2:30pm and September 26 at 5:15pm). The film is a beautifully produced work about a young body and the dead body he discovers.

The festival has created a series of sidebar focuses to allow for filmgoers to seek out films by category so you'll find such programming choices as Fresh Features (new to San Diego films), Reel Life Docs (based on true stories); Film Rocks (music vids); Local Love (San Diego based filmmakers); Green Screen (people helping make the world green); and Little Critics (curated by kids).

So there should be plenty to enjoy no matter what your taste. For more information and a complete schedule visit the festival website at www.sdff.org .

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