The sixth and final day of the 8th Annual Las Vegas Film Festival brought a bittersweet end to an exciting week. I was able to catch the Short Film Block #6, as well as two films: Morphine “Journey of Dreams”, a documentary by Mark Shuman, and Jauja by Lisandro Alonso.

Short Film Block #6 cemented my opinion that the some of the strongest work of this festival was in the short films and student films. I am amazed at how much story and emotion can be crammed into 5-10 minute clips. My favorites in this block were Kiss and Tell by Clinton Cornwell, A Man Wakes Up by Voki Kalfayan, Starman by Josema Roig, and Magic Matty by Nico Raineau.

Morphine “Journey of Dreams”, a documentary by Mark Shuman, chronicled the rise of alternative rock band Morphine from its roots in the underground Boston music scene to its peak as an internationally acclaimed touring band. I admit I had never heard of Morphine prior to this documentary, and I enjoyed their music and the story behind the band. I met the filmmaker Mark Shuman and congratulated him and a fine film. At a Q & A session after the film he discussed some of the legal aspects of making a musical documentary, which I think I will be exploring in future posts.

Mark Shuman discusses Morphine
Mark Shuman discusses Morphine “Journey of Dreams”.

Jauja by Lisandro Alonso was enjoyable, and I would describe it as a kind of “artsy western” movie. I really enjoyed the scenery and it goes without saying that Viggo Mortensen delivered a first class performance as Captain Gunnar Dinesen, an Argentinian military officer riding through enemy territory to find his young daughter. The set design and costumes all added a unique authenticity to the film.

Finally the closing after-party was on the roof of the Inspire Theater. This was a perfect location to finish the week as we enjoyed views of Fremont Street’s lights while listening to some ambient DJ music and enjoying our drinks. (Shameless plug this venue is not just for private events but is a “regular” bar, too) Overall I had a great time this week and enjoyed meeting many new and wonderful people. I look forward to attending the Las Vegas Film Festival next year and hope in the next few weeks to explore more of the legal issues that were discussed throughout the week.

I also want to take a moment to say what an outstanding job the festival organizers did. The festival ran smoothly and everyone I met was extremely friendly and helpful. I felt like I was a guest at a fancy hotel rather than just a guy hanging out at a theater all week watching movies. First class facilities and service were provided courtesy of the Inspire Theater and the Life is Beautiful store (in the boutique shop Coterie). The filmmakers lounge, located in the back of the Life is Beautiful Store, was very comfortable and there was always plenty of water, magic anti-hangover elixer RESQWATER, snacks, and other adult beverages on hand courtesy of Jameson.


In terms of the films I was truly impressed with the talent on display this week. I would have to say my personal favorites for the week for SemiColon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl, Seoul Searching, Chuck Norris vs. Communism, Bare, and French Dirty. If you get the chance to see any of these films definitely check them out!

I had a great time this week and enjoyed meeting everyone! If anyone has any questions, comments, and/or suggestions for further posts feel free to find me on Twitter and message me @LawyerRussell. See you all next year!!