These film gems shine brightly


By Ricardo Soltero

The 15th annual San Diego International Film Festival gave us a first look at many films before they hit theaters and many films that remain undiscovered.

The festival showcased more than 100 films, including dramas, comedies, thrillers, documentaries and short films, during its five-day run that ended Oct. 2.

Here is a City Times’ selection of films we’re recommending once they are available.

“Opening Night”
Directed by Isaac Rentz
This musical comedy chronicles the backstage drama that stage manager Nick faces on opening night of the new Broadway musical “One Hit Wonderland,” — from an accident-prone leading lady to temperamental producers. Nick must make sure that show indeed must go on by putting out as many fires as he can. Topher Grace and Taye Diggs are joined by Anne Heche and *NSYN’Cs JC Chasez for this R rated comedy about a musical.

Directed by Brett Rapkin
Based on the true story of former Major League Baseball pitcher, Bill “Spaceman” Lee. In the twilight of his career, the eccentric former All-Star is released from the Montreal Expos but refuses to quit the game. He finds himself blackballed for his outspoken politics and notorious drug use. Lee must move on as it becomes clear that he would never get back into the big leagues

“Violins of Hope – Strings
of the Holocaust”
Directed by Lance K. Shultz
Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody narrates this documentary about an Israeli master violinmaker who attempts to restore violins recovered from the Holocaust. These instruments were played by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps and now serve as testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of music.

“Neither Wolf Nor Dog”
Directed by Steven Lewis Simpson
As he shifts through the contemporary Native American landscape, a white author is tasked by a Lakota Elder with writing a book. Stripped of his preconceptions of the native culture, he begins to experience the wonder and pain of their world, falling deep into to the heart of the Native American experience. “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” is a movie adaptation of Kent Nerburn’s award winning Native American novel of the same name.