Harry Dean Stanton Fest returns to Kentucky Theatre, brings a new spin-off
Among the myriad events being welcomed back this summer is the Lexington Film League’s Harry Dean Stanton Fest, which has celebrated the Kentucky native and iconic actor since 2011.
Over the years, the event has screened many of Stanton’s iconic performances and invited Stanton’s colleagues and collaborators such as “Repo Man” director Alex Cox in its last outing in 2019 and co-stars such as Dabney Coleman, Crispin Glover, and Michelle Williams, who has the added distinction of talking Stanton himself into coming to the fest in 2014.
Stanton, who was born in West Irvine and attended Lafayette High School and the University of Kentucky, died in 2017, weeks before the premiere of his last movie, “Lucky,” which featured a rare leading performance from Stanton. This year’s festival will feature Stanton’s other lead in Wim Wenders’ “Paris, Texas” (1984.)
The film will be screened at the Kentucky Theatre at 7 p.m. July 17, followed by an on-stage discussion with Allison Anders, a production assistant on “Paris,” who went on to direct independent classics such as “Gas Food Lodging” (1992) and “Mi Vida Loca” (1993). Eastern Kentucky native and best-selling novelist Silas House will moderate the discussion, and he is hosting a screening of “Where the Lilies Bloom,” one of his favorite childhood movies, at 2 p.m. July 16 at the Farish Theater at the Lexington Public Library at 140 E. Main St.
The other events in the Fest July 15 to 17 include:
A free outdoor screening of “Christine” (1983) at Base 249, 249 W. Main St. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the screening starts at 9.
“Stars and Bars,” a 1988 film starring Daniel Day-Lewis prior to his “My Left Foot,” “Lincoln,” etc. acclaim, screens free at noon July 16 at the Farish Theater.
Billy Swan and Andreas Werner in concert at 8 p.m. July 16 at the Green Lantern Bar, 497 W. 3rd St. Swan was a longtime member of Kris Kristofferson’s band and Stanton’s friend group. He’ll be sharing favorite songs and stories about Stanton. Tickets are $20 pre-sale for guaranteed seating and $15 standing room the day of the show.
“Hostage” (1967) screens free at the Farish Theater at 1 p.m. July 17.
Stanton biographer Joseph Atkins will present his book, “Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s Zen Rebel” at 3 p.m. July 17. The event is free and copies of the 2020 book will be available for purchase.
Character Fest July 22 - 24 is a new Harry Dean Stanton Fest spin-off the following week that will honor a different character actor or actress every year at the Kentucky Theatre for a weekend of film. The first honoree is Sy Richardson who was in “Repo Man” and boasts over 100 other film and TV credits including “Posse” (which he co-wrote) and “They Live.” Richardson will join for the weekend of screenings of his work.
Harry Dean Stanton Fest
What: Film festival that includes concerts and speakers related to Kentucky native and actor Harry Dean Stanton
When: July 15 to 17
Where: Various sites around Lexington