‘Captain of Strategy’ helps navigate Las Vegas Film Festival

Mike Plante’s most impressive title, by far, is senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. But that lacks the panache of his new position with the Las Vegas Film Festival: Captain of Strategy.

It sounds like a job that should require him to dress like that Hotels.com guy — or, at the very least, wear some sort of a cape.

In reality, it’s just a case of the leadership of the local festival liking the relationship they’ve developed with Plante over the past few years and deciding to put a ring on it. The 11th edition of the fest runs Wednesday through June 10 at Brenden Theatres at the Palms (for tickets and a complete schedule, see lvff.com).

“Because I’ve been doing festivals since ’93, and just because of my job at Sundance, I just have a few more contacts,” Plante says of his previous involvement with the fest, which mostly consisted of him contacting distributors to help secure films.

“This year, I signed on to do a little bit more actual advising on everything,” he says, “but it wouldn’t be right to say that I’m taking over. … It’s more just like helping them do what they were already doing.”

Milo Kostelecky, president of the Las Vegas Film Festival, and West McDowell, its programming director, began working with CineVegas President Robin Greenspun in 2015 to present films under the brand of the late, great film festival. Greenspun, in turn, reached out to Plante who, along with Trevor Groth, programmed CineVegas from 2002 until its demise in 2009.

“We’re not interested in trying to bring the zombie back,” Plante says. “What CineVegas did was cool, but it was just a lot. We had a good time doing it, but it’s a lot to put on, and it’s a lot to ask of any audience anywhere.”

The first strategy Plante is captaining is simply taking his time. “I don’t wanna, like, go nuts and blow a lot of money and try to do 40 things suddenly. I think this year, the main thing we’re trying to do is keep it really tight. … Boutique and thoughtful curation is what we’re trying to do first.”

He’s particularly proud to be able to present “really small films” such as “I Am Not a Witch” (5 p.m. June 10), in which an 8-year-old girl in Zambia is sent to a type of prison camp for presumed witches. “Narcissister Organ Player” (9:15 p.m. June 7, 9:30 p.m. June 8) is centered around an erotic performance artist and an enormous puppet. “Clara’s Ghost” (7 p.m. June 7, 3 p.m. June 9), meanwhile, stars practically the entire Elliott family, including Chris and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Abby, in a supernatural riff on showbiz families. “Chances are,” Plante says, “this is the only way they’re going to play in Las Vegas.”

Slightly more mainstream is “Damsel” (9:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. June 9), starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska, which Plante describes as “a Western, but it’s more like a messed-up romantic comedy.”

The Las Vegas Film Festival has added live events this year, headlined by a discussion with producer Christine Vachon (“Boys Don’t Cry,” “Carol,” “Far From Heaven”) and Mary Ann Marino, the head of physical production at Amazon Studios Original Movies (5 p.m., June 8).

The action moves to the Fremont Country Club, 601 Fremont St., for performances by CineVegas alum Bob Goldthwait (11 p.m. June 8) and “The Rudy Casoni Boozebag Revue” (8 and 11 p.m. Saturday), which stars Toby Huss (“Halt and Catch Fire”) and combines standards and punk covers with a swing band.

Plans for future installments include video games and art installations.

“I’m lucky enough to have failed over 25 years,” Plante jokes, “so it’s always good to have that person in the mix. Like, ‘Hey, you know what? You’d think that would work. I can’t believe it doesn’t. But it didn’t.’ And then, ‘Oh, you know what’s crazy? This other thing worked.’

“Whether it’s a type of film to show or what kind of event works, it helps to have a few people in the mix to kick ideas around.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence @reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like