By Dena Burroughs  --  April 8, 2017

Film – CORTEZ – one night only at Arclight Hollywood

CORTEZ will be screened Monday, April 10, at 8 pm, at Arclight Hollywood as part of the 2017 Slamdance Cinema Club lineup for this month.

Cheryl Nichols is the filmmaker. She co-wrote the script and stars in the movie next to Arron Shiver (Boardwalk Empire). Also in the cast are Cassidy Freeman (Smallville), Judith Ivey (The Devil's Advocate) and Drago Sumonja (Black Wedding).

CORTEZ begins with self-involved musician Jesse Lirette (Shiver) on a small solo tour with his enabling manager and best friend Eric (Sumonja). Jesse begins to spiral out when his new album tanks and low ticket sales cancel half the tour dates. In an act of self preservation, he walks away from the tour to seek out a simpler life. The first stop on his journey is a small, hippy town in New Mexico where he suspects that an old girlfriend lives. Jesse finds Anne (Nichols) working in a bar. Though she is reluctant at first and suspicious of his motives, Anne finally gives in and accompanies Jesse on an adventure through the town of Cortez. Jesse is entranced by the wild beauty of the place, colorful locals, and the prospect of starting over. The flame has been rekindled, but Anne is gone by morning. Jesse finds his way to her house, convinced that she is the answer to whatever ails him. What Jesse doesn't know is that Anne is hiding a secret that will alter the course of his life.

During the first half of CORTEZ the viewer gets story fragments, and the brain wonders how the pieces fit together. The colors are subdued; rather dark. But then the town (some place in New Mexico) begins to show its colors, and things fall in place right as the viewer, and the main character, realizes what the secret entails. It is then that CORTEZ becomes the most interesting, underlining the intricacies of life, of family ties, and of individual choices. CORTEZ is refreshingly unpredictable.

This is a link to tickets to the screening at the ArcLight Hollywood. The film will also screen in Chicago on April 20, 2017.

Peter Manning Robinson's debut Refractor Piano™ Concert [April 2016]. Photo credit: Michael Rueter/Capture Imaging.

Drago Sumonja and Arron Shiver / Photo: Peter Prato