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CineFest Announces Double Feature for Opening Night

For the very first time, the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance is excited to kick off this year's CineFest, running Thursday, April 7, 2011 - Thursday, April 14, 2011, with TWO opening night films: Exporting Raymond, and for the late-night crowd, The Catechism Cataclysm. These two comedies lead off a celebrated schedule that boasts 60 films assembled from over 17 countries, and showcases 2 World Premieres, 1 USA Premiere, 7 East Coast Premieres.

Exporting Raymond is a hilarious documentary about Philip Rosenthal, creator of the hit TV show "Everybody Loves Raymond" and his calamitous adventures when he goes to Russia to work on their version of the popular show. When Rosenthal was approached to oversee the creation of a Russian version of his show, he was both flattered and excited. That excitement soon turns to frustration, befuddlement and amusement in this very funny look at his trials and tribulations as a stranger in an even stranger land. With a small film crew in hand, Phil - encouraged by the success of such Russian versions of "The Nanny" and "Married with Children" - heads off to Moscow. What then unfolds is his hilarious fish out of water journey to a world very different than glitzy and efficient Hollywood. Exporting Raymond is a fast-moving, original documentary held together by the very witty Phil acting as our wise-cracking narrator who becomes increasingly numbed by the Russian entertainment bureaucracy.

The film will make its East Coast Premiere at CineFest on Thursday, April 7, with Philip Rosenthal in attendance.

Fresh off its premiere at Sundance, The Catechism Cataclysm is the second feature from Todd Rohal, named by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the "25 new faces of independent cinema"; and is also the first feature produced by Rough House Pictures, AKA - Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green, the creators of "Eastbound & Down". The Catechism Cataclysm tells the story of Father Billy ("Eastbound & Down's" Steve Little), a young priest who has lost interest in the church and decides to take a sabbatical.

He tracks down his high-school friend Robbie (Robert Longstreet) who begrudgingly agrees to a canoe trip. On the water, the two men reminisce about Billy's days as the keyboardist in a Christian band and Robbie's as a guitarist for a metal band. When night approaches, they realize they have lost their way - and that's when things get weird. This shish kebab of wild characters melts together stories within stories until the lines between the Bible, Mark Twain, and campfire tales are wiped out, and the viewer is carried down the river into a divinely bizarre and funny tale, destined for midnight movie cult status.

With stars Steve Little and Robert Longstreet, director Todd Rohal and producer Megan Griffiths in attendance, the film will make its East Coast Premiere at CineFest on Thursday, April 7.

These two festival favorites will open 8 days of internationally acclaimed dramas, comedies, and documentaries. The CineFest slate of cinema features such diverse fare as:

The Ward: John Carpenter, one of the architects of contemporary American horror, returns with this chilling, atmospheric yarn about a group of institutionalized young women haunted by the ghost of a former patient.

The Interrupters: Filmed over a year in the mean streets of Chicago, this unforgettable documentary by Steve James (Hoop Dreams) tells the inspiring story of a group of former gang members who now work at diffusing the violence that grips their neighborhood. Director James will be in attendance.

Lapland Odyssey: In this hilarious Finnish comedy, Ulysses' challenges in his Odyssey will seem like a walk through the park in comparison to Janne, a young man who goes on a rollercoaster ride of bizarre encounters all in his search for a cable box.

Potiche: Three powerhouses of French Cinema: Francois Ozon, Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu combine their talents in this delightfully frothy battle of the sexes and classes.

Hamill: A true story, based on the life of deaf UFC fighter Matt "The Hammer" Hamill, this inspiring film shows what it takes to be a champion, on and off the mat. Director Oren Kaplan will be in attendance.

Stake Land: A post-apocalyptic vampire road movie, the award-winning fest favorite Stake Land combines bloody mayhem with sharp social commentary.

Opening and closing the 8-day festival with extreme laughter, the closing night film is the Philadelphia premiere of Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock's new film, POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which won great reviews at Sundance. Spurlock will be on hand for the screening of the documentary to speak in-depth about product placement in the media.

What's more, this year's festival will host over 50 special guests, along with a great lineup of daily events.

Films are organized into the following genres:
World Focus: The best in international cinema.
Documentaries of Today: Insightful and thought provoking reports on international life.
American Independents: The best of national indie filmmakers and new talent.
Festival of Independents: Local productions spotlighted on their home turf.
Danger After Dark: Cutting-edge genre films from around the globe.
And new this year, Action Asia; high-impact, action-oriented films from countries in Asia.

CineFest screening locations will include the Ritz East One and Two, the Painted Bride and the legendary Trocadero.

For a full line up of films, visit http://www.phillycinefest.com/ or call 267-765-9800 ext. 4; and follow the festival on Twitter: @CinefestPhilly and Facebook: www.facebook.com/phillycinefest

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