Capetown Film Festival
Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Leonard Nimoy, Terry Gilliam, Richard Donner, John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman and Edgar Wright are among the starry names that will bring universes of imagination together at the EW CapeTown Film Festival (April 30 – May 6) in Los Angeles, the editors of Entertainment Weekly announced Friday.

Those guests, along with the previously announced appearance by Kurt Russell and the anniversary screenings of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, represent a powerful line-up for the inaugural CapeTown festival, which shares its name with’s recently launched hub for sci-fi and fantasy coverage.

CapeTown has covered the news in pop culture’s most vivid sectors since January, but now it is making news with the appearance of Nimoy, the television and film icon who returns from retirement for one night and one night only on May 6, the finale night of the festival. Nimoy will be interviewed on stage by Geoff Boucher, the EW senior writer who programmed the festival, and the Q&A will have a tie-on screening of Star Trek, the 2009 J.J. Abrams hit that represents Nimoy’s farewell to the cinematic universe of Starfleet.

The festival, a co-presentation with the American Cinematheque, will be staged at the historic Egyptian Theater, the grand old movie palace that introduced a Tinseltown tradition in 1922 when it rolled out the carpet for Robin Hood and Douglas Fairbanks for the first Hollywood world premiere. All ticket and concession proceeds from the EW CapeTown Film Festival go to the non-profit Cinematheque.

The seven-day program of screenings and on-stage Q&As is sponsored by TNT’s Falling Skies, which will be given a special big-screen showcase on May 3 when the season 3 premiere is included as a bonus treat to fans attending the screening of Escape from New York. The full schedule is available here.

The most eclectic day of the festival is May 5, which is headlined by Terry Gilliam, the artistic trickster of Monty Python who went on to become one of the signature filmmakers of his generation. For CapeTown and this BAFTA-sponsored event, it’s his 1995 classic Twelve Monkeys (which stars Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe and earned Brad Pitt his first Oscar nomination), a surreal thriller that takes time travel into the madhouse. The May 5 program also includes director Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon) and his 1985 adventure-comedy The Goonies, which remains a cinematic treasure map to childhood for many CapeTown readers. Preceding the Donner film is Laika’s Coraline, the landmark stop-motion tale, with a tie-in Q&A with author Neil Gaiman and filmmaker and film executive Travis Knight of Laika. The day starts off with a “Minion matinee” of Despicable Me, along with a Universal Pictures preview of Despicable Me 2, this summer’s sequel to the 2010 hit.

It’s a very different mood on May 2 when an alien threat emerges from the arctic tundra to bring a faceless fear to the 1982 horror classic The Thing. Carpenter will be the special Q&A guest that night; his memorable collaborations with Russell (which totaled four films) are being honored by CapeTown with back-to-back nights of R-rated intense adventure.

There’s intense humor and plenty of screen blood on May 1 when director Wright is the special guest with a screening of Shaun of the Dead, the 2004 cinematic pub crawl through the zombie apocalypse. The unkillable comedy is part of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which reaches its conclusion this August with the release of The World’s End (starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost).

The May 4 centerpiece for the festival is the 30th anniversary screenings of Return of the Jedi, which premiered at the Egyptian in May 1983 and now returns with a rare big-screen viewing opportunity. The epic that ends on Endor has even more interest now with the promise of a new Skywalker era after the Disney and Lucasfilm announcement of a third trilogy. Special guests, activities and surprises will be part of that day’s programming.

The festival’s April 30 opening night screening and guest will be announced soon. Tickets for the CapeTown Film Festival go on sale April 8. Tickets for screenings cost $11 each. Entertainment Weekly subscribers and members of the American Cinematheque are eligible for a discount price (the cost goes down to $7 per ticket) during a special April 6 walk-up pre-sale at the Egyptian box office at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Despicable Me
  • Movie
  • 88 minutes