From oddball filmmaker with love

    It has been a travesty for film lovers nationwide to see their local movie theaters overrun with formulaic, second-rate, commercialized commodities known as movies, but Madstone Theaters is making an earnest attempt to remedy this situation with its new six week film series “”Film Forward.”” Starting on May 1, the film series features six unique films that won’t be shown anywhere else.

    Courtesy of Madstone Theaters

    Many have heard of filmmakers like Justin Lin, director of “”Better Luck Tomorrow,”” who are lucky enough to get their films picked up by distributors after film festivals, but many filmmakers aren’t so lucky. Their masterpieces and labors of love go on to the sad indie-film abyss, or if they’re lucky, to video-rental anonymity. Madstone Theaters, with its 10 nationwide locations, is pioneering the “”Film Forward”” series to commercially debut the exciting films of promising filmmakers. With its emphasis on community and quality films, Madstone is trying to gather local support for these innovative new movies and save the dream of future aspiring moviemakers.

    “”There have been a multitude of very fine films that have never made their way into theaters, and by launching ‘Film Forward,’ Madstone is giving filmmakers and audiences a chance to discover each other and flourish — minus the barriers that have long divided them,”” said Madstone’s Chief Executive Officer Chip Seelig.

    Instead of doing the safe thing and just carrying the next Hollywood blockbuster with the flashy effects and sexy stars, Madstone is taking a leap in showing these films. According to Seelig, “”Madstone’s ‘Film Forward’ is dedicated to finding uncommonly appealing films and giving them a chance to find and grow audiences outside the traditional system.””

    Because these types of films aren’t generally available to the movie-going public, they go by unnoticed with moviegoers never even knowing that they exist. With this and other attempts to bring more low-budget art and indie films to its few locations, Madstone is giving these striving artists a chance they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    From silly, off-beat romances to thought-provoking thrillers, the films showcased at “”Film Forward”” are assuredly quality films that were chosen based on their new style, originality, perspective and daring. They were all chosen for possessing these important qualities, yet they are not so unusual that viewers will be alienated; adversely, they also appeal to more diverse audiences.

    The series starts with “”Te Amo (Made in Chile) “” and “”Tattoo, A Love Story,”” which will be playing May 1 through May 14, with each film in the series playing two weeks. “”Te Amo”” stars Adrian Castilla, Daniela Ropert and Tamara Acosta and tells the story of four teens who build their own utopia in a condemned pavilion in Santiago, Chile. Their adventures, dramas, longings and fears are all magnified with an unrelenting camera. The perfect summer vacation is interrupted with unforeseen and hidden troubles. For a lighter experience, “”Tattoo, a Love Story”” tells the story of Sara (Megan Edwards), a conservative young school teacher, who falls in love with one of her student’s show-and-tell projects, a tattoo artist named Virgil (Virgil Mignanelli). This unconventional love story will touch your heart and make you think. There could be worse things than thinking after seeing a movie.

    “”Soft for Digging”” and “”Bunny”” are the next two films, both running May 15 to May 28. “”Soft for Digging”” is a magnificently shot supernatural thriller about an old man (Edmond Mercier) who wanders into the woods to mysteriously find a child without parents and a murder scene without a body. If you’re not in the mood for a thriller, then see “”Bunny,”” a movie about two immigrants offering advice and solace while dressed as pink bunnies. This social critique offers observations and ideas in a surreal and distinctive manner that will linger far beyond the 88 minutes of the film.

    The concluding films, “”Seven and a Match”” and “”Side Streets”” running May 19 to June 11, will leave audiences satisfied with their individual stories and characters. “”Seven and a Match”” tells the story of seven twenty-somethings who reunite after college only to be confronted with problems and dramas that they never quite left behind. With an eclectic soundtrack compiled by director Derek Simonds, this smart, realistic film will have you evaluating your own relationships. The touching comedy “”Side Streets”” also analyzes relationships and desires, but this time in the mean and diverse city of New York. With a talented and equally diverse cast including Rosario Dawson and Valeria Golino, “”Side Streets”” will undoubtedly leave a great impression and act as a pleasant ending.

    So if you’ve been lamenting the sad state of the movie-industry, get off of that couch and direct yourself toward Madstone Theaters in the Hazard Center (by Mission Valley). The best part is their discounts, where tickets for starving students, seniors and children are a lovely $5.75. “”Film Forward”” will run May 1 through June 11. For more information on this film series, visit http://www.madstonetheaters.com, where you’ll be able to get all of your questions answered.

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