It's Time For Philadelphia To Get Weird Again With The 2014 Cinedelphia Film Festival
It might be late March right now as I write this, but every time I step outside of the bar for a smoke, the cold air hits my face, and it's cold enough that it hurts. I can't help but wonder why I haven't hopped on a plane to get my ass out of this miserable city and tail to it Bali, Monaco, or Puerto Rico where I have friends and family living exceptionally well as broke ex pats.
And it seems to me that I keep running across the same dead horse whenever I decide to trek back to the couch that I'm currently living on. Its carcass has been lying in the street around the block from my favorite watering hole for nearly five years from when I first beat it to death.
I always come back to it when I'm nursing a mean whiskey drunk to poke and prod.
The squirrels, birds, and city stray cats have long had their go at it. Its meat and muscle have been torn out well before I developed my receding hairline.
There's barely anything even left of its skeleton, just a few bones that I haven't yet kicked down the street into a gutter on my walk home from the bar.
That horse once had a name. I called it the Philadelphia Film Community.
What more can I say that I haven't already ranted on in length in the past?
I've never been all that adept at film news blogging. I've never been that interested in writing puff pieces on new films and film festivals for free just so that I could feel like I was some privileged insider.
There's a story behind everything, and anymore, that story seems to be getting repeated too often.
The film industry is dying, film festivals have lost almost all of their purpose being a mostly redundant and homogenized circle jerk.
But if there's one thing that my home town has always excelled at, whether anyone living outside of it are aware, is that we have a strong DIY culture.
You can do things in Philadelphia that you can't in other major cities. You can start your own film festival and book screenings at awesome and unique venues with bands and other live performers, and you can do it on the cheap. You can organize a $50,000 event for $5000, a $100,000 one for $10,000.
Philadelphia provides an environment that allows individuals who aren't living on trust funds, whose parents aren't famous artists, or well connected industry folks, or who come from big oil money to be entrepreneurs. Here, ambitious cash poor individuals can go out and strike out something for themselves.
The only problem is that Philadelphia is also known for something else beyond its punk and DIY scene. It's known for its bar culture, and honestly, most people here would rather spend their night at their corner tap room then support their art/film community.
And even with over 20 some colleges and universities around, it seems that most of all those art school kids living in the big city would rather spend their nights taking selfies at EDM parties with names like "Finger Banger."
Where you won't find many of those Instagram taking, french beret, striped shirt wearing hip cats is at any of the city's many phenomenal independent film, art, and performance spaces.
And that is why I'm back waving this wet, stinky, rotted horse skull in your face.
It's because the Cinedelphia Film Festival represents everything that makes Philadelphia an awesome city for the arts. And hey, the festival is organized by the Philadelphia Mausoleum for Contemporary Arts (PhilaMoca). So yes, the majority of screenings and events are taking place in a former mausoleum which happens to be located in the Eraserhood, the area where David Lynch once inhabited as a student which inspired his seminal film.
But since Philadelphia is notoriously difficult as far getting people to actually come for those awesome film and art events, this kooky independent fest needs your support.
CFF is an impossibly bizarre and ambitious festival. It's the type of grass roots community based festival that deserves your attention more than the next Oscar bait marathon, IFC/Magnolia product convention, or Fantastic Fest clone.
And hey, if you watch the video trailer below, you'll even see that they give Twitch a nice shout out from last year's write out, cause today, it's all about those shout outs.
In the words of festival founder and artistic director, Eric Bresler, "The Cinedelphia Film Festival is Philadelphia's alternative celebration of film that pays tribute to everything from locally shot rarities to video era oddities. The CFF differs from other film festivals in that there is no submission process, it is completely curated in-house. There are also no overlapping programs so CFF badge holders are able to attend all programming, never having to choose between conflicting times. And most important, and most obvious to attendees, is that the CFF is not a distributor-driven showcase of the same product featured in every other film festival out there, it is a carefully and lovingly curated celebration of worthwhile cinema that pays little regard to what interests the general public, the goal being to introduce this very same public to work that would otherwise never be showcased in Philadelphia."
The second annual CFF will run from April 10 - 26, 2014. To purchase tickets and view the full line up, be sure to check out the official website.
For this writer, one of the stand out screenings would be Triple Fisher, "a metadrama mashup of three early '90s Amy Fisher biopics that "unspools like a Lifetime fever dream." "
In addition, there's a 16mm screening of Trick Baby, a largely underrated and mostly forgotten slice of Philadelphian brewed Blaxploitation noir.
There's a lot more happening, but you can get a taste for it yourself with the video trailer below.
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