Hyart Film Festival features select films, stage show

Since beauty (or art or film) is in the eye of the beholder, it’s difficult to say whether one year of the Hyart Film Festival is “better” than the other, but Director Jason Zeller can say this with certainty: the 2016 Hyart Film Festival has been the most selective when it comes to choosing quality films.

Zeller said the festival received around 150 submitted films this year, and there are just 21 in the festival lineup since the former Saturday night block is taken by the one-man show performed by actor/musician/comedian Kirby Heyborne, requiring Zeller to choose the “best of the best.”

It was a similar situation last year when the festival showed its first feature length film – “RZ-9” starring Lovell High School graduate Ethan McDowell.

“Something I liked happened on accident with Ethan’s film last year. Because it took up so much time we could only show a limited number of films,” Zeller said. “That required us to narrow the field down to the best of the best. With Kirby the same thing has happened this year.”

Zeller recalled that the festival showed 64 films in its second year, when there were a number of short animated films, and he said the average over the years has been about 45.

“The last two years we’ve only averaged 25 films so films that made the festival in years past haven’t made it in these years,” he said. “I had a really good historical drama and maybe I should have put it in, but we didn’t have a time for it.”

Kirby Heyborne
Kirby Heyborne

The seventh annual festival features some visually stunning films, Zeller said, noting, “We have some films that are like ‘Wow! How did they do that?!’”

One film in that category will be shown in tonight’s (Thursday) session entitled “Circle.” The German film is about dreams caught in circles above a young woman’s head. The film “looks amazing,” Zeller said.

Another film Thursday night, “Thornbird,” has “some CGI going on that’s like X-Men movies,” Zeller said. The movie is a fairy tale about a young girl who finds a magic mask.

Another film with great visuals, Zeller said, is “Natural Attraction” (Saturday afternoon) about the beginning of the world. He said it includes scenes of storms, tornados, exploding volcanoes and close-up views of rain drops hitting the ground.

“I, of course, really like ‘The Love of Bee Boy and Flower Girl’ (Saturday afternoon), because it’s about bees,” Zeller said. “The colors are bright and vivid.”

“Ahco on the Road” (Saturday) about an elephant that gets separated from the herd has excellent animation, Zeller said, and he said “Lift” (Saturday) features stop motion animation with paper.

Zeller noted that four of this year’s Hyart Film Festival films are having their world premiers at the festival, four are student films being shown on the big screen for the first time and four involve filmmakers whose works have appeared in the festival before including Damien Patrik with “In the Blink,” McDowell with “The Canister” and South Korean films “Ahco on the Road” and “Hansel and Gretel” by Soyeon Kim.

Tickets for the film festival are $5 per block with sessions to be held Thursday night (science fiction) at 7 p.m., Friday night (guys and gals) at 7 p.m. and Saturday afternoon (films that make you feel) at 3 p.m.

“I believe like last year there’s not a dud in the bunch,” Zeller said.

Kirby Heyborne

One of the highlights of the 2016 festival is the performance Saturday night by actor, comedian and musician Kirby Heyborne.

Heyborne, who played Sgt. Oberon Winley in the 2003 movie “Saints and Soldiers” and Teddy in the 2012 movie “The Three Stooges,” will take the stage Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Hyart for a one-man comedy and music show.

Zeller said Heyborne is a talented comedian and musician who is a master of many accents and has produced four folk/rock music albums.

Heyborne’s amazing vocal and musical talents combined with a keen sense of humor and his flair for storytelling make for a performance like none other, Zeller states in promotional material, adding that his special blend of talent, entertainment and genuine rapport with his audience makes each performance a unique, dynamic and unforgettable experience for all ages.

Heyborne received critical acclaim for his starring role in the World War II drama “Saints and Soldiers,” which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He also starred in the award-winning boy band mockumentary “The Sons of Provo” and the award-winning quixotic comedy “Pirates of the Great Salt Lake” (The Weinstein Co.). He was a series regular on FBC’s series “Free Ride” and has appeared in numerous nationwide commercial campaigns including a Honda campaign featuring Mario Andretti.

Heyborne is a co-founder and director of the celebrated LA-based improv comedy group The Society, which sells out theaters all over the country. He is also the co-founder, co-producer, co-director and co-writer of kerBLINK, a new video channel whose mission is to make the world laugh with “environMENTALLY friendly” clean videos, films, songs and creative content.

The Saturday night show is $15 per person or $50 for a family of four for early purchase tickets, with additional family members charged a discounted rate. Tickets sold the night of the show will be $25 each.

For tickets, go to www.qbee.org or contact Zeller at 272-9048. The film festival also has a Facebook page.

By David Peck