submitted by producer Christopher Lucas
Above All Else screened on July 4th and 5th at Marfa Film Festival, deep in the beautiful Big Bend region in West Texas. Marfa, for those that don’t know it, is a unique place, both an iconic Texas small town and world-renowned art colony home to the Chinati Foundation; many fine artists, writers, sculptors, photographers and other creative types call Marfa home. It’s a harsh landscape and gets brutally hot out there, but also remarkably beautiful, especially in the magical hours of dawn and twilight.
I made the eight-hour drive to Marfa from Austin with my family and we took in some hot desert hikes in nearby Alpine, parties in Marfa, which were much cooler, and eventually got around to watching some movies.
On our first day in town John Fiege and I were interviewed on Marfa Public Radio. It was a good start to the weekend. Marfa Film Festival programs about 60 shorts and features and, a lot like the town, leaned toward the eclectic and artistically adventurous. Michel Gondry’s new film Mood Indigo was there, as well as Rick Linklater’s Boyhood, a great environmental doc Yakona, from Central Texas locals Paul Collins and Anlo Sepulveda, and Alex van Warnerdam’s Borgman, which was nominated for a Palme d’Or this year. We were thrilled to have Above All Else on the program. The film had a great response and several people came up after our first screening at the Crowley Theater -- as they often do at these festivals -- to thank us for making the film and telling David’s story.
We screened with three short films—Honor The Treaties (Watch it), Shield the People (Watch it), and Overpass Light Brigade. Shield the People traveled to Marfa for the festival—raising a few of the tipis they are using to blockade the Keystone XL pipeline with a traditional village on their ancestral lands in South Dakota. After our screening the visiting Lakota spoke powerfully about the need to stop ecological destruction and of their own intention to preserve their people and the earth for all of us.
The festival included several side events as well, like live music at the coolest “nomadic hotel and campground” in Texas, El Cosmico, a indie game showcase The Space Cowboy Arcade, and a Fourth of July concert and fireworks out in the desert.
Marfa was a great mid-summer celebration for Above All Else and we’re looking forward to more events later in the summer and fall.