Ricochet bounces film back to Asheville

Local movie buffs and buff-ettes can breathe a sigh of relief: The film festival has bounced back in town with the Ricochet Film Festival. The city-sponsored Asheville Film Festival announced a hiatus this year, but friends and fellow film freaks Michael Knox and David Forbes have come to the proverbial rescue. Ricochet will launch its inaugural weekend of flicks Sept. 17 – 19 at the Carolina Theater on Hendersonville Road.

Ricochet will include cult movies, up-and-coming movies and locally made movies. Oh yeah, it’ll also have zombies, Indian food and fire dancers.

“We are hoping for a really high-energy, fun festival that people will come out for,” said Forbes.

Knox and Forbes (whose day-job is at Xpress) eased into film festival-land via working stints as movie recruiters for the Asheville Film Festival. Knox has since begun producing films and is currently working on his second feature, a documentary about the Blue Ridge Rollergirls.
Shortly after last year’s Asheville Film Festival, the duo began discussing putting on a new event. And even if the AFF were still a go, the Ricochet Film Festival would be happening, its organizers say. The Asheville Film Festival’s break, said Knox, simply “cemented our plans.”

Said Forbes: “We saw the way that Asheville comes out for a good artistic festival and how eclectic this community's interests are, and we figured it needed a festival that reflected that.”

Ricochet boasts a little something for everyone. Just a few highlights: The funky indie film and weird horror musical, Eat Me: The Musical; the comedy/drama All About Dad, centered on a Vietnamese family; a documentary about attempting to re-unite the legendary band, the Kinks; a showing of the classic black-and-white Night of the Living Dead.

“We wanted to have at least one classic movie in there,” said Knox. “Plus, it's a fun film.” He brought the film to his Modern Film Festival in Kannapolis, N.C., and it was the most well-attended offering there. Ricochet is not only encouraging folks to dress up in their zombie-best, but they have invited the Asheville Zombie Walk to attend.

It’s quite different to watch a a classic film on the big screen versus at home, said Forbes. “Many of these classics were out in theaters before some of the audience were even born,” said Forbes, “so it allows them to have that experience.”

Ricochet will present some offerings that showcase the quality of the local film scene: Rod Murphy’s Being the Diablo will have its Asheville premiere, David Kabler's dark Wanderlost will screen and Knox's own Tearing Down the Tent will get a view. All three filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their movies.

Additional fun features for the fest include fire dancers outside of the theater. Why fire dancers? “To me cinema is the height of culture,” said Knox. “But it isn't limited to just film. Music is very integral to movies. For instance, the original Dracula had no music and it's very creepy without music. On the flip side, I just got done editing something the other day which by itself was not a funny piece, but the music we queued with it made it hilarious. It was the difference between night and day.”

“People's memories of film have to do with not so much the story, the film and the plot line, as important as all those are,” said Forbes, “but with an image, a flash, or when a song started in a certain point in a movie.”

Forbes may be most excited about Sita, an animated film/cult classic. “In some ways, the way it was made and the finished product reflect the kind of the spirit we are going for with Ricochet,” said Forbes. “It was one woman drawing on her life experiences. She animated it herself and brought in all this music, and brought in all these old Annette Hanshaw songs and out of all these influences that you don't think would work together, it works. And it works amazingly … a lot like Asheville itself.”

— ilana Mignon can be reached at ilanamignon@gmail.com

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