The Asheville Film Fest strikes back

The Asheville Film Festival isn’t just a time for movies—it also offers roundtables, galas, forums and special events of all kinds.

Phillip Seymour-Hoffman and Ethan Hawke star in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, from legendary director Sidney Lumet.

Xpress’ own Ken Hanke will be part of a Critics’ Roundtable on Friday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the Ritz Building. He’ll square off with Felicia Feaster of Atlanta’s Creative Loafing, Larry Toppman of the Charlotte Observer, Sam Watson of the Johnson City Press and others over the future of independent film. The audience will also get a chance to grill their favorite critics.

There’s something for the fashionistas too, as local designers Brook R. Priddy and Paul Olszewski will put on a show in front of the Fine Arts Theatre at 6 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 10). Souped-up rides from West Asheville’s Lowrider Shop will also be featured.

Tess Harper will on hand Friday for a gala after the screening of Tender Mercies, her 1983 debut.

A special event highlighting the role of music in film will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 10) at the Grey Eagle. The May Family Reunion will provide the score, while Eric Scheffer, an HBO/Showtime producer who also worked on the legendary music documentary The Last Waltz, will do the talking.

Asheville moviegoers will also get to see the already acclaimed Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, by famed director Sidney Lumet (Network, 12 Angry Men) before it hits theaters nationwide. The crime thriller stars Phillip Seymour-Hoffman, Marissa Tomei, Ethan Hawke and Albert Finney.

Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour-Hoffman open the festival in The Savages.

The festival’s galas begin Thursday (Nov. 8) night, with the festival kick-off, alongside the critically noted film The Savages, which stars Phillip Seymour-Hoffman and Laura Linney. Following the film, ticket holders will adjourn to the lobby and outside atrium of Pack Place for food provided by Amici.

On Friday, there will be an evening with this year’s Career Achievement Award winner, Tess Harper. A special screening of Tender Mercies, which marked the beginning of her career with a Golden Globe nomination, will be held at the Fine Arts Theater. It will be followed by a Q&A with Harper and a reception at Blue Spiral 1.

Saturday evening will see the festival’s big event, as the winners are announced and the awards presented at a cocktail reception and ceremony.

The festival will end on a high note with a showing of the award-winning film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, followed by a reception with beer, wine and appetizers provided by Amici.

Visit www.ashevillefilmfest.com for more information or to buy tickets.

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