The 12th edition of the Beverly Hills International Film Festival begins Wednesday evening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater with the U.S. premiere of “The Black Tulip,” a drama from Afghanistan that was the country’s official Oscar submission in the foreign-language film category in 2010. The film, directed by Sonia Nassery Cole, is set in 2001 and revolves around a family that decides to open a restaurant for artists and poets to express themselves after the Taliban is vanquished.
Another 49 feature films, documentaries, shorts and animated movies in the five-day festival will screen at the Real D Theater (formerly the Clarity Theatre) in Beverly Hills.
According to its founder, Nino Simone, the festival is all about the “love, the passion” for movies.
“We have a knack for discovering some really unique pieces and showcasing them,” said Simone. “Instead of being a mega festival where there are 250,000 attendees and the filmmakers get lost in the shuffle, we decided to focus on a limited amount of films.... We decided to keep it nice and compact and focus on high-end pieces that could move people.”
Other highlights of the festival include the world premieres of the psychological thriller “Sofia,” with Christian Slater and Donald Sutherland; the documentary “Beyond 360,” about sailing champion Dee Caffari’s circumnavigation of the globe; and “Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots,” executive produced by Snoop Dogg. The last will air on VH1 on May 1.
The festival concludes Sunday at the Four Seasons with a gala and awards show. Anne Archer (“Fatal Attraction”) is set to receive the fifth annual Legends Award. USC professor Mardik Martin, who wrote the screenplay for “Raging Bull,” will receive the 2012 Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Award, presented annually to underrated artists.
For more information go to beverlyhillsfilmfestival.com
— Susan King