Las Vegas Film Fest 2012

Voula Konstantarakis
Photos by Nikki Artale

My favorite thing to do is go to the movies so you can imagine how excited and thrilled I was to attend four day of the Las Vegas Film Fest at the LVH, which is in its fifth year. On July 19, 2012 five films from the Asian-American film block, by the San Diego Asian Film Festival were shown and the most powerful one was “Afterschock” which told the story of the 1976 Great Tangshan Earthquake. “Bang Bang” was the 2011 Best First Feature film and the cast came on stage to perform after the screening.

There was an after party every night after the last film of the day was shown. Benihana at the LVH hosted Thursday’s party, Central at Caesars Palace hosted Fridays party, the Royal Resorts on Saturday night and the Tempo Lounge at the LVH held the closing night awards after party. There were red carpet and VIP parties, screenwriters, producers and filmmaker’s panels and a closing night award ceremony.

July 20th opening night premiere film was “The Trouble with the Truth” starring Lea Thompson and John Shea. Later that evening Lea Thompson was presented with the 2012 Female Indie Icon Award by actor/director Adam Ash. Lea is known for her roles in many movies, some of which were Back to the Future 1, 11 and 111.

Ash Adams & Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson & Jim Hemphill, Director

Following the red carpet and screening, Lea Thompson held a press conference and everyone had the opportunity to spend time with her in the filmmakers lounge. Lea was warm and welcoming and it felt as if we were sitting in her living room talking with her. Her personality and beauty is overwhelming and she is truly a joy to be with.

Nikki Artale & Lea Thompson

Lea Thompson and her husband film director Howard Deutch have two daughters Madelyn Deutch, 21 years old and Zoey Deutch, 17 years old and are both actresses and they have performed on stage together. Lea said she loves working with her daughters. Zoe is in “Beautiful Creatures” and Madeline is in “Twister Warning”.

Louis Gossett, Jr. was also presented with the 2012 Male Indie Icon Award and a special screening of the feature film “An Officer and a Gentleman” was shown to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the movie. I saw the movie 30 years ago and it was just as exciting to see it again. A special treat was in store for everyone as the writer Douglas Stewart joined Louis Gossett on stage for a question and answer period after the screening. The film won best song and best score and a total of seven nominations. Louis said he would love to work with Richard Gere again and both said that Richard should have won the academy award for his starring role in the film.
Louis Gossett, Jr. & Douglas Stewart

A special moment to see was Lea Thompson and Louis Gossett, Jr. seated together in the theater getting ready to watch the movie.They are old friends and you can see the love and respect they have for each other.

Louis Gosset, Jr. won the best supporting actor in his Academy Award winning role as Drill Sergeant Emil Foley. Louis has appeared in hundreds of movies and Television shows, notably “Roots”, a television miniseries which got everyone’s attention. A press conference was held with Milo Kostelecky, Festival Director, and Louis shared some memories of his life in the book “An Actor and a Gentleman”.

Milo Kostelecky & Lou Gossett, Jr.

Louis Gossett, Jr. & Nikki Artale

A Rock & Roll documentary “Louder than Love: The Grandee Ballroom Story” was told by musicians and people that lived it. This was the first film produced and directed by Tony D’Annunzio and edited by Karl Rausch. Tony made a compelling 74 minute film with photos and archival footage of the rock and roll greats of the 1920’s that played at the Grandee Ballroom. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Who were some of the bands that played there. The film was released in April in Detroit and had 10 sold out screenings in Eight Cities with great reviews.

Karl Rausch & Tony D'Annunzio
Steven R. Monroe wrote and directed a great thriller “MoniKa” that was filmed here in Las Vegas and stars Cerina Vincent, who is a Las Vegas native. Also starring is Jason Wiles who meets MoniKa after her death and then tries to put the pieces together to avenge her death. It is suspenseful and a must see movie.

Jason Wiles, Jeff Branson, Cerina Vincent & Steven R. Monroe

An interesting event was attending the round table discussion of the original gangsters of Las Vegas. Featured on the panel was Frank Cullotta who talked about the making of “Casino”. Cullotta has been in hiding for over 25 years but occasionally comes out to various events. I guess no one is looking for him any longer. I found him to be a very interesting man and his book “Cullotta the Life of a Chicago Criminal” is a no holds barred biography of his life of crime.

Frank Culotta


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