Tag Archives: filmmaking

Naked in Las Vegas

Greg Friedler is a fine art photographer.  Translated, he has a passion for capturing unique still photo scenes.  But his other finely honed artsy ability is taking photographs of willing people posed clothed and naked in front of a studio canvas. 

Las Vegas, undisputed City of Sin, was squarely in his camera’s viewfinder years ago and is now part of a documentary film, “Stripped: Greg Friedler’s Naked Las Vegas,” by David Palmer, which will premier in March 2010 and is planned to be on Showtime for two years. 

Their creative effort started in 1973, working from scratch and with no confirmed photo subjects nor even a confirmed location to shoot, Denver, Colorado-based avant-garde photographer Friedler and Los Angeles-based filmmaker David Palmer embarked on a multi-dimensional and highly emotional 30-day Las Vegas roller coaster ride, that would eventually bring together 173 naked human beings of every shape, size, and walk of life. 

Participants in the project entered a small white room with a red curtain and opened themselves up, literally, for what eventually became “Stripped: Gred Friedler’s Naked: Las Vegas,” baring not only their naked bodies, but, equally important, a bit of their inner souls. 

In 2008, with a pre-release copy of Greg Friedler’s book “Naked Las Vegas” in hand, David Palmer would journey back to Las Vegas and follow up interpersonally with 40 of the book’s true-life characters whom he had documented during Friedler’s initial Las Vegas shoot.  What would become apparent was that not only had the city of Las Vegas gone through very drastic changes, so too, on multiple levels, did the people whom Friedler and Palmer had photographed. 

Through Palmer’s discerning lens, which at times becomes so humanizing that even clothed, the film’s characters feel more naked than ever; viewers are privileged to see what happens when everyday human beings stripped of clothing, comforts and society’s judgments discover an even playing field of beauty, humanity and ultimately self love. 

The variety of visual candy is amazing.  From a homeless man who strips himself of his past regrets to find employment, a home of his own, and along with it his dignity; to a hermaphrodite couple exposing the truth that beauty and love can be shared beyond social stigmas; to an Elvis impersonator nakedly confronting his own lack of trust in society and finding faith in others by keeping his own commitments, “Stripped” prevails by sharing an honest, true story of ultimate triumph over what may seem like insurmountable social and personal odds. 

In our society that is overwrought with an obsession for money, fame and beauty, this collective of unique and sometimes bizarre individuals, living in one of the world’s most infamous cities, shows all of us it is possible to grow from crisis, to find the betterment of humanity through vulnerability, and ultimately be uplifted and inspired by the triumphs of coming to terms with who we all really are.

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CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas Offers Movies Galore- And Much More

Running over six days and one weekend, the 11th annual CineVegas film festival, starting this Wednesday, June 10, at the Brenden Theatres inside the Palms in Las Vegas offers a broader range of movie screening opportunities than ever before, providing something for every discriminating taste and style, from world premieres to sneak previews of independent film features that will be soon playing in theatres around the country.  

If that’s not enough, many seminars, parties, and A-list celebrity awards are also on tap, offering participants the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the best filmmakers in the country. 

Not surprisingly, Las Vegas itself plays a major role in several of the world premiere movie selections. 

Although there are way too many movies and events to list here, Las Vegas Backstage Access has put together our best picks, listed in date chronological order: 

Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.

“Saint John of Las Vegas”  Opening night world premiere movie starring Steve Buscemi as a gambling-addicted Albuquerque insurance adjustor, who returns to the scene of his temptation to investigate a fraud case, encountering a variety of offbeat characters, including a wheelchair-bound stripper and a human torch. 

Thursday, June 11 at 3:00 p.m. & Sunday, June 14 at 1:00 p.m. 

“Vegas: Based on  a True Story,” from Iranian director Amir Naderi,  the movie focuses on ex-gamblers trying to keep their family out of trouble- until the temptation of finding cash in the desert proves too irresistible. 

Thursday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, June 12 at 12:30 p.m.

“All In:  The Poker Movie,” is a documentary world premiere movie that was filmed in Las Vegas that focuses on poker as “a way to chase the American dream,” according to director Douglas Tirola.  

Saturday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m.

“Thor at the Bus Stop,” is a U.S. premiere movie all about a Norse god that finds himself in a Southern Nevada suburb trying to save the world. 

Sunday, June 14 at 3 p.m.

Willem Dafoe receives Vanguard Actor Award 

Sunday, June 14 at 5 p.m.

Filmmakers and Honorees Awards Ceremony & Reception at Rain Nightclub inside the Palms.  In addition to awards to Jon Voight, Willem Dafoe and the Kuchar Brothers, Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago will receive the Planet Illogica Award for New Media. 

Sunday, June 14 at midnight:

“Lookin’ to Get Out,” is a totally revamped version of Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight’s 1982 made-in Las Vegas comedy movie filmed at the original MGM Grand (now Bally’s), which director Hal Ashby recut and donated to the film archives of the University of California, Los Angeles just before his 1988 death.    Voight will also receive the Marquee Award that accompanies the screening. 

Movie screenings listed here are at the Brenden Theatres at the Palms.  Individual screening tickets are $10, except for Wednesday’s opening movie premiere of “Saint John of Las Vegas,” which is $25.  Festival movie screening passes range form $40 to $500, with Las Vegas, senior, student and military discount packages available.  Tickets may be purchased at the CineVegas box office at the Palms, or online at www.cinevegas.com or by phone 888-883-4278.

Be sure to check out prior January 6,  April 25 and May 29 Las Vegas Backstage Access articles on the CineVegas film festival.

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