In the early “Aughts,” CineVegas put this city on the film festival map, thanks to such movies as Ocean’s 13 and contributions from the late Dennis Hopper, who served as the festival’s chairman. CineVegas also helped push the narrative of Las Vegas as a burgeoning cultural hub, with comparisons drawn to other festivals that had positive impacts on their host turf, such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Sundance in Utah.
Then, in 2009 with dark economic days looming, CineVegas packed up its reels and disappeared.
Now with the help of the Las Vegas Film Festival, CineVegas’ curtain is set to rise once again. CineVegas president Robin Greenspun, in collaboration with original team members Trevor Groth, Mike Plante and West McDowell, will present three features and one short August 13-15 at Inspire Theater during Las Vegas Film Festival week. All the films have connections to CineVegas’ past: Call Me Lucky, Giuseppe Makes a Movie and the short film The Paranormal Idiot are directed by alumni of the festival, while actor Viggo Mortensen, who stars in Jauja, is a past honoree.
“Robin recently directed a film Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl, and I was really impressed by it,” says Milo Kostelecky, executive director of the Las Vegas Film Festival. “In April, we had a cup of coffee, and we [reached] an agreement to work together. The goal is to reach out to the community and build a stronger support base—have people invest in the arts. I think it has legs. We both have a similar philosophy on why we are doing this. Absolutely we want to make this city proud and do it for the right reasons.”
To help celebrate its return, CineVegas will host a reunion party August 13 at El Cortez, with past honorees in attendance as well as ephemera from its initial 10-year run.