The major criterion for selecting the movies for the annual Fresno Film Festival is diversity. The committee putting together the eight films to be featured in the event sponsored by Fresno Filmworks is to try to make each pick as unique as possible. That includes everything from writing to country of origin.
“We like to have a lot of different countries involved. We did that this year except we could not find an Asian movie,” Linda Knight, co-chair of the festival, says. “I did like a zombie film from South Korea but didn’t think it would be right for our audience.”
The movie fans who show up at the Tower Theatre Friday through Sunday will get to see movies representing 15 countries. They will range from a production based on a classic piece of literature to a music documentary.
The committee started looking for selections at the beginning of summer. That meant watching movies, talking to promoters of other festivals and dealing with distributors to find out which movies were available.
The Fresno Film Festival works under one big limitation: The Tower Theatre doesn’t have a digital projector and a lot of movies are only available in that format.
“It makes the selection process more difficult because we have a narrower list of options,” Knight says. She adds that even with the limitations the committee is very happy with this year’s eight selections.
Tickets for individual events are $10 general admission and $8 for students and seniors. A festival pass is $50. All tickets and passes are available at http://fresnofilmworks.org and at the Tower Theatre box office.
Here are the movies being shown at the film festival
“The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” 7 p.m. Friday: Director Morgan Neville, who won an Oscar for “20 Feet from Stardom,” takes another look at the music world. He examines the story of the international musical collective that was responsible for bringing the talents of cellist Yo-Yo Ma to the world.
The opening night reception for the festival will follow.
“Heidi,” 11 a.m. Saturday: The film, a joint production of Germany and Switzerland, is a new take on the 1981 Johanna Spyri book. It’s the tale of a young girl who moves in with her reclusive grandfather.
“A Man Called Ove,” 2 p.m. Saturday: The Swedish film directed by Hannes Holm is the story of an ill-tempered man and his friendship with a new neighbor. It’s based on the novel by Fredrik Backman. Rolf Lassgård stars.
“Sand Storm,” 5:45 p.m. Saturday: Mother and daughter, more alike than they care to admit, rebel against Bedouin traditions. The film from the United Kingdom was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
“The Carer,” 8 p.m. Saturday: A much heralded actor faces the frustrations of Parkinson’s disease. His anger manifests itself in running away any potential caretaker. That changes when a young actress applies for the job. Brian Cox stars in the film that’s a joint production of Hungary and the United Kingdom.
There will be a Q&A with director János Edelényi after the screening.
“The Olive Tree,” 1 p.m. Sunday: Spanish film about a granddaughter’s efforts to save a very special olive tree. These efforts include stealing the tree from an energy company lobby.
“Speed Sisters,” 4 p.m. Sunday: The production from filmmaker Amber Fares looks at the true story of the Middle East’s first all-woman driving team in the Palestinian racing scene.
“Neruda,” 7 p.m. Sunday: Chilean film about the search for acclaimed poet Pablo Neruda.
U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will be featured after the screening.