It’s the question the world has been asking for more than 20 years: What was it really like to work with Vanilla Ice on his ill-fated Cool as Ice movie? Actress Kristin Minter will tell all as part of this year’s Waterfront Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday evening in downtown South Haven.
That’s right: South Haven. For the first time in its 14-year history, the festival will not be held in Saugatuck. The move south is an attempt to revitalize Waterfront, and it’s the first time the festival will be screening films in actual cinemas. The three-screen Michigan Theatre will be utilized, as well as South Haven’s Foundry Hall and Lisitiak Auditorium near South Haven High School.
Minter will discuss the making of Cool as Ice at 11 p.m. Saturday at the Michigan Theater. It’s one of the festival’s campy late-night revival shows. The other is at 11 p.m. Friday, when Christine Elise, best known for playing the party-hearty Emily Valentine on the original Beverly Hills 90210, will be on hand to talk about Child’s Play 2, the second installment of the infamous Chucky series.
Some of the festival’s other highlights include the Midwest premiere of Teddy Bears, a comedy-drama about friendships being put to the test during a trip to the desert. It stars Gillian Jacobs, David Krumholtz, Jason Ritter and the always-wonderful Melanie Lynskey. It shows at 4:30 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday at Listiak Auditorium.
There’s also Syrup, a spoof of the advertising world, starring Amber Heard, Brittany Snow, Kellan Lutz and Rachel Dratch. That plays at 7 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Listiak Auditorium.
Waterfront has a solid track record of discovering terrific documentaries over the years, such as March of the Penguins, Grizzly Man, The Queen of Versailles and Murderball. This year’s crop includes director Nicole Teeny’s Bible Quiz focuses on a 17-year-old Washington State girl named Mikayla Irle, who has memorized thousands of Biblical verses in order to compete in the National Bible Quiz. Mikayla’s mission is complicated by the slow realization that she is falling in love with her team captain. Bible Quiz screens at 9 a.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Listiak Auditorium.
Also on the schedule is director and screenwriter Leslie Zemeckis’ Bound By Flesh, which takes a look at the tragic careers of Daisy and Violet Hilton, the conjoined twins who were born in England and sold by their mother to a freak-show operator. When the women were brought to America in the 1920s, they became enormous stars in vaudeville, although they never made much money, thanks to unscrupulous managers. They eventually went on to star in cinematic shockers like director Tod Browning’s ultra-disturbing Freaks and the exploitation flick Chained for Life. Their story was also the basis for the 1997 Broadway musical Side Show. Bound By Flesh shows at 9 a.m. Friday and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Foundry Hall.
Another sad show-biz story unfolds in Blackfish, a documentary built around Tilikum, a killer whale that was captured off the coast of Iceland and eventually relocated to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. In the nearly 30 years Tilikum has been performing, the 12 thousand-pound bull orca has been responsible for the deaths of three trainers and the makers of Blackfish place the blame for the killer whale’s aggressive behavior squarely on the shoulders of the SeaWorld bosses.
Get ready to hit the road to South Haven. Waterfront may have changed its location, but it still looks like a great weekend getaway for movie fans.