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Kilgore to offer independent films at annual fest

By Christina Lane
April 13, 2017 at 3 a.m.
Updated April 13, 2017 at 4:46 p.m.

Jessica Chastain in a scene from "The Zookeeper's Wife."

Stories of family, love that was challenged by a government, and a zookeeper's wife are among films that will be shown in Kilgore throughout the next month as the 4 Star Cinema offers the annual Kilgore Spring Film Festival.

Byron Berkley began offering the Kilgore Film Festival at the 4 Star Cinema in 1998 as a way to bring independent films, typically seen only in art house theaters in larger cities, to East Texas. The festival is offered in the spring and fall.

The spring lineup features the films "20th Century Women," "Table 19," "A United Kingdom," "The Last Word," "The Zookeeper's Wife," "I Am Not Your Negro" and "The Sound of Music."

When selecting films for the festival, Berkley has previously said the primary factors he reviews are: looking at the most recent art film releases, the content of those films, whether the films would resonate with an East Texas audience, what venues the films have played at, and how much business they have done.

Berkley offers the film festival, he has said, to provide an alternative to East Texans besides mainstream Hollywood productions.

The film festival opens April 19 with the film "20th Century Woman." There will be an opening night reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 19 at the theater. The reception will be followed by a showing of the film.

Aside from opening day, there will be showings at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily through May 11.

Cost to see films that are part of the festival is $8.50 for adults and $7 for matinees and seniors.

Here is a look at the films of the Kilgore Spring Film Festival:

"20th Century Women"

During the summer of 1979, a Santa Barbara single mom (played by Annette Bening) decides the best way she can parent her son is to enlist her young tenant — a photographer (Greta Gerwig), a handyman (Billy Crudup) and her son's friend (Elle Fanning) — to serve as role models in a changing world.

"Table 19"

In "Table 19," ex-maid of honor Eloise decides to hold her head up and attend her friend's wedding anyway. She herself at the "random" table in the back of the ballroom with strangers, most of whom should have known to just send regrets. As everyone's secrets are revealed, Eloise learns a thing or two from the denizens of "Table 19."

"A United Kingdom"

"A United Kingdom" is based on true events. In 1947, Seretse Khama, the king of Botswana, met Ruth Williams, a London office worker. They were a perfect match, yet their proposed marriage was challenged not only by their families but by the British and South African governments.

"The Last Word"

Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine stars as Harriet Lauler, a once successful businesswoman in tight control of every aspect of her life. As she reflects upon her accomplishments, she's suddenly inspired to engage a young writer, Anne Sherman (Amanda Seyfried), to pen her life's story.

"The Zookeeper's Wife"

"The Zookeeper's Wife" tells the story of a mother who became a hero during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski, have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing. When their country is invaded by the Germans, they covertly begin working with the resistance.

"I Am Not Your Negro"

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House." The book was a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of his close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, questions black representation in Hollywood.

"The Sound of Music"

This version of "The Sound of Music" is the classic feature, restored from the original negative with eight-channel sound. In the film, Academy Award-winner Julie Andrews plays the role of Maria, who becomes a governess in the home of a widowed naval captain with seven children. She brings a new love of life and music into the home.

The lineup

"20th Century Women" April 19-22, rated R, stars Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup

"Table 19" April 23-25, rated PG-13, stars Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson and Stephen Merchant

"A United Kingdom" April 26-29, rated PG-13, stars David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Tom Felton

"The Last Word" April 30-May 2, rated R, stars Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried

"The Zookeeper's Wife" May 3-6, rated PG-13, stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh and Daniel Bruhl

"I Am Not Your Negro" May 7-9, rated PG-13, stars Samuel L. Jackson and James Baldwin

"The Sound of Music" May 10-11, rated G, stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer

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