13th Tucson Film Festival begins with "Everything Beautiful is Far Away"

Courtesy of Manali Pictures

"Everything is Beautiful Far Away" was shown at the Gallagher Theater on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. The Tucson Film Festival has multiple events planned throughout the month of October.

All that was known to the Tucson Film Festival audience about “Everything Beautiful is Far Away” was that it was a science fiction film about a man, a girl and a robot looking for a lake in the midst of a desert.  

Directed by Pete Ohs, “Everything Beautiful is Far Away” follows Lernert, played by Joseph Cross, who is a lonely desert dweller who is searching for parts to reassemble his robotic travel companion, Susan. Lenert saves Rola, a city-dwelling girl played by Julia Garner, from being killed by poisonous vegetation and the two begin their journey together to find a prophesized lake in the middle of a vast, seemingly endless desert.

Lenert’s analytical nature and survival-centric mentality regularly clashes with Rola’s curiosity and spontaneity. Despite their differences, it is clear how much they care for each other.

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“Physical and symbolic isolation perfectly encapsulate modern concerns in this feature that is both thoughtfully sparse and rich with details,” wrote Drea Clark, an independent film producer, when describing the film for Film Independent.

Ohs has not said publicly what the final budget for the film was, but it is low compared to the blockbusters moviegoers think of when they hear “science fiction.” From the use of one main location to the mechanics of Susan the robot, Ohs and his team fit the science fiction theme to what they could do with their budget.  

A scene from "Everything is Beautiful Far Away." The film was the opening night screening for the 13th annual Tucson Film Festival.

“Everything Beautiful is Far Away” was the special presentation film at this year’s Tucson Film Festival and there’s only more to come in this movie-packed weekend. The festival boasts a selection of feature films, documentaries and short films spanning every genre.

On Friday, Oct. 6 the festival will officially open for its 13th year with “The Song of Sway Lake.” A story about a man and his friend trying to find an incredibly valuable vinyl record in his grandmother’s house, the film is sure to start the festival off on a high note.

Several of the films showing throughout the weekend will feature their filmmakers in attendance for Q&A’s with the community after the screenings, including Rick Darge, the director behind this year’s dreamy centerpiece film, “Zen Dog.”

The short film “Duo” was directed by UA alumnus Roman Arriola.

“Over the years we’ve shown over 60 University of Arizona alumni-produced films and probably have had over 100 student volunteers from the film, theater and television department,” said Michael Toubassi, the Tucson Film Festival director.

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On Sunday night the festival will close with “Cortez,” a drama about a man trying to rekindle a relationship with his lost love and being forced to confront the demons of his past in the process.

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