Diane Bell's Of Dust and Bones premiered at the Vail Film Festival.
Feeding myself on budget in Vail has been tricky — all too many places in this resort town charge $15-plus dollars a plate, too rich for my meager journalistic means. Bless the heavens above for La Cantina, a little Mexican joint on the third floor of the Vail Transportation Center with a full bar and some of the only sub-$10 entrées I've seen in town, and with complimentary chips and a diverse salsa bar, it's been a lifesaver for eating on a budget.
Saturday's daytime highlight from the Vail Film Festival was the "Shoot from the Heart" workshop, taught by Diane Bell — she's a native of Scotland currently living in the Denver area, and her third film, Of Dust and Bones, had its world premier at the festival. She outlined the 16-step method she used to make both Of Dust and Bones and her debut film, Obselidia, from revising the script to shopping for distribution opportunities. She teaches a two-day workshop that goes into detail about budgeting, networking and more through her production/training company, Rebel Heart Film.
Later that afternoon, festival-goers saw the results of Bell's methods with the debut of Of Dust and Bones (not to be confused with Denver death metal crew Of Feather And Bone). It's hard to be objective about the narrative in Of Dust and Bones as a journalist — the film evokes the filmed execution of journalist James Foley in Syria in 2014.
After the death of her husband, war photojournalist Bryan (played by David Zaugh), Clio (played by Gaynor Howe) lives in monastic solitude in the desert somewhere outside of Pioneertown, California. She's visited by Alex (played by Michael Piccirilli), a news producer and friend of Bryan, who wants Bryan's last photos to get out into the world, continuing the work he did in life. It's a slow film with a lot of space and silence, burning slow and exploring heavy themes of how we deal with grief and suffering in Western culture. Hell, co-lead Clio's first line comes well past the 30-minute mark. But it's an interesting film, to be sure, and all the acting's well done. And for anyone who's spent time in the desert, the atmosphere's on point.
Of Dust and Bones will likely spend the next year on the film festival circuit. Expect it to show up on streaming services like Vimeo and Amazon sometime in 2019 — details are still to be determined.