by Bill Pearis

Will Oldham in 'Eden' / Will Sheff's directorial debut 'Down Down the Deep River'
Eden Rural Route Film Festival
Down Down the Deep River Rural Route Film Festival

The Rural Route Film Festival happens this weekend (July 24-26) at The Museum of the Moving Image. Now in its 11th year, the fest showcases "international films that take the road less traveled. This year's focus will be on bold, independent women behind and in front of the camera." Music is an element, too, and figures into a couple of the RRFF's events. On Saturday (7/25) it's the world premiere Down Down the Deep River, the directorial debut of Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Sheff will be on hand for the screening, playing a short set before the 42-minute film and participating in a Q&A afterward. Tickets are on sale and here's the synopsis:

The sci-fi fantasy world of two bullied sixth-grade boys invades reality and changes their lives forever. An explosion of the music video into a narrative film, Down Down the Deep River grew out of the recent work of acclaimed indie band Okkervil River, and directed by front man Will Sheff. The song of the same name appears in multiple incarnations throughout the film, interpreted in '80s appropriate styles (New Wave, soft rock, rap). A poetic, abstract tribute to classic children's fantasy films, Down Down the Deep River was shot in and around Sheff's hometown in rural New Hampshire and stars local actors.

Then on Sunday (7/26) it's Elise DuRant's new feature Eden which stars Will Oldham:

Nine-year-old Alma is forced to leave Mexico with her artifact-smuggling father, John (played by Will Oldham). Years later, after her father's death, she returns to Mexico to confront the man responsible for their emigration. But she finds more than she was looking for, in the form of a new cultural identity and old secrets that are revealed. This sensitively depicted, personal exploration of the ties-that-bind--to family or country--is a film about our search for roots and a sense of belonging and the love and loss that accompanies this search.

Preceding the screening will be a performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache, "the first and only established all-female mariachi band." Director DuRant will be on hand for a Q&A after the film. Tickets are on sale.

You can check out the full list of Rural Route Film Festival screens over at Museum of the Moving Image's website.

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