Posted by Tasha on July 22nd, 2011 in Movies
Editor’s note: This post is by Carrisa of Partially Motivated.
If you are looking for something fun and out of the ordinary to do in Tulsa this weekend, you must check out the Tulsa United Film Festival at Circle Cinema, Ida Red and Living Arts of Tulsa. Originally an exclusively Tulsa-centric festival, it was founded nine years ago by Tulsa native Jason Connell. The festival has since expanded into major cities such as New York City and Los Angeles.
I was able to preview one of this year’s feature films, Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians. This movie tells the story of a group of Christians who make money by playing blackjack and counting cards. Yes, you read that right: Christians and card counting. They call themselves The Church Team.
Most Christians you meet will tell you that the church generally frowns upon gambling, much like casinos frown upon card counting. It’s not illegal, but if you’re caught doing it, they’ll ask you to leave. Maybe not in the finger-breaking, face-punching ways you’ve seen in other gambling movies like Casino – more like the take-away-all-of-your-winnings-and-kick-you-out-of-the-casino way. The guys in the movie refer to this as being backed off. A nice way of putting it, if you ask me.
Counting cards gives you an overall advantage in that you are likely to win against the house about 55 percent of the time. This means that 45 percent of the time, you’re losing. The movie doesn’t sugar coat much. It shows both the famine and the feast, as well as the lengths the characters go to to keep from being recognized by casinos.
Most of the members of Church Team don’t seem to struggle with the morality issues behind card counting that a lot of people might. Casinos aren’t in the business of losing money, although their commercials and billboards would lead you to believe otherwise. Lose all your money to them and they reward you with free drinks. Start winning and taking away their profits and they reward you by showing you the exit.
Here are snippets about the other films showing at the festival:
- The Pink Panther. Bumbling and conceited French police inspector Clouseau tries to catch The Phantom. Cast: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner.
- Branson. Follows the performers of three acts playing at a Branson, Missouri strip mall through all the ups and downs of three seasons. Tulsa premier!
- “10.” A Hollywood songwriter goes through a mid-life crisis and becomes infatuated with a sexy blonde newlywed. Cast: Dudley Moore, Bo Derek, Julie Andrews.
- Eagles in the Chicken Coop. A team of investigative documentarians set out to follow the making of a late night, made-for-television Mature Movie, to capture an inside look at mainstream American movie practices and sensibilities at their lowest. Cast: Bruce Abbott, Cameron Bender, Megan Bergkvist. Tulsa premier!
- Adventures of Power. In his quest to become the world’s greatest air-drummer, a small-town dreamer must overcome obstacles and ridicule to save the day. Tulsa premier – free showing!
- Superheroes. A journey inside the world of real life caped crusaders. From all over America, these self-proclaimed crime fighters don masks, homemade costumes and elaborate utility belts in an attempt to bring justice to evildoers everywhere. Tulsa premier.
- Beware of Christians. Four college students travel to Europe to escape their routine faith and gain a radically new perspective on following Jesus. Tulsa premiere.
- I Do, I Don’t. One couple’s story of love, marriage, divorce, and what happens when the realities of modern day life collide with biblical ideals.
- Eat the Sun. Is it possible to stare into the sun and not eat? Tulsa premiere.
- Gabi On the Roof In July. A portrait of young New York and the misguided hopefuls who can’t afford to live there but do anyway. Cast: Lawrence Michael Levine, Sophia Takal, Brooke Bloom, Louis Cancelmi, Kate Lyrn Sheil, Amy Seimetz. Tulsa premiere.
- Living Downstream. Living Downstream follows ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber during one pivotal year as she works to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. Tulsa premiere.
- Save Our Future. When inner-city charter high school Save Our Future is forced to close doors, dozens of Los Angeles students rally to have their voices heard. Tulsa premiere.
- Cleanflix. When a small Utah-based edited movie company is caught sanitizing Hollywood’s copyrighted material for Mormon audiences, the film industry strikes back with a devastating blow. Tulsa premiere.
- Heaven’s Rain. Based on true events, the film recounts the story of the Douglass family, whose lives were irrevocably changed one evening 30 years ago. Cast: Mike Vogel, Erin Chambers, Taryn Manning.
- The Buddy Holly Story. A film about the life and career of the early rock and roll star. Cast: Gary Busey, Gailard Sartain, Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith.
- Big Wednesday. The lives of some California surfers from the early ’60s to the ’70s. Cast: Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, Gary Busey.
Check out show times and buy tickets to any 2011 Tulsa United Film Festival movie showing here. Head out and support film and the proprietors of icy-cold movie theaters in Tulsa this weekend.