INDIESTREET

Interviews with an underground NYC music legend, Milo Z, and his budding jazz saxophonist (Steven Frieder) give our creative community some insight on different ways to manage the ever-changing creative ecosystem.

    A rainy afternoon in the early 1980s: Soft rain acts the snare as a group of young boys add the kick drum on their leaps from truck top to truck top. Right behind CBGBs is where the old U-Haul trucks used to line up tight, and that is where the bright eyed young stompers would play their games and talk of the unknown. This is where the young boys would undoubtedly stumble upon some mischief that might just turn them into young men. In general these were the days when kids went out to play for the whole day without checking in ‘til the street lights came on.

     Milo Z was one of these boys, free to explore the East Village with no need to digitally check in or post a quick selfie to announce whereabouts. Humans were happy to share memories with a select few, but Milo still dreamt of big days ahead. It was one of the first days this particular group of boys had graduated from truck hopping to cab looting when the now local icon found an old practice drum set. Milo dragged that drum set home, and the rest is as Milo would say, is Razzamofunk!

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This past week, I had the chance to interview two musicians in different stages of their careers, different stages of their lives, and from different eras of the music scene. Even stemming from two unique ideological generations, these talents share the stage, perform together, and inspire each other in the types of ways that make crowds gather on Indie Street. Both Milo Z and the young jazz saxophonist Steven Frieder had lots to share about their values, their music, and their paths as independent artists.

The Who

Milo Z
A total professional, Milo Z sings, dances, conducts, orchestrates, and interacts with the crowd, all the while dressing and grooving in a style that is unique and all his own.. Showcasing his talent in NYC for decades, now 5 albums deep, Milo has the experience and grit that produces some truly authentic music and lyrics. His appreciation for originality is pretty obvious considering he has created his own music genre Razzamofunk (a blend of Rap, Rock, Rythym & Blues, Jazz and Funk).

Steven Frieder
Steven is only 24, but some consider him a sort of jazz prodigy. His saxophone will transport you back to a day of funky soul from before you were born, or may have forgot existed. Steven wales on the sax with Milo Z and a variety of other bands, and released his first album as a leader last year.

Steven and Milo seem to have a natural synergy with each other. Not just a student-teacher relationship, but one where both realize the great benefits of the others presence regardless of age or experience. The young generation has a lot to learn from the toughness and persistence of those who succeeded in the past, but now more than ever, older generations must keep an open ear to the young street for new ways to swing and sling in the market.

The two will be traveling with the rest of the Milo Z band to spread the funk in Greece later this month. Milo Z loves bringing in and bringing up young musicians, who he admits at times end up on even bigger stages than his. He becomes enlivened from the youthful vigor and reconfirmed by challenging Steven and others to perform at their highest level. Steven looks to Milo a leader who expects the most of himself and his band while committing himself to his craft and his crowd.

Distribution & Self Promotion

New School – Steven Frieder
The simple act of referring to this young talented musician “new school” is probably an injustice because his musical soul and spirit are from a different generation. In any case, his physical age is of the digital era, so we asked him about the new tools for getting out there. For the most part, Steven believes it is very different from musician to musician depending on their priorities, but he did reveal what he believes to be the most intriguing new digital concepts:

“I think that one of the most powerful social media phenomenas is that of the viral video. Do you remember this video of the subway street performers that went huge last year? It’s this trio with Bari Sax, Trumpet and percussion. Too Many Zooz. I know the horn players, good friends of mine that I went to college with. That video went viral overnight because someone posted it on reddit. Now, they are touring all over, playing in Europe and all over the west coast. I couldn’t be happier for them, cats that went to a major jazz conservatory, and got big playing “Brass-House” as they call it. It’s some great stuff.”

Old School – Milo Z
As an old school cat at heart, Milo Z (and many other humans on the planet) feel that the social networking and digital media have started a trend toward shameless self promotion:

“Nowadays everybody is a star, everyone is taking their selfies. There is no shame. It seems now the old expression there is no bad press has reached a new height.”

Lyrics from Milo Z song, “Bitch (for the camera)”:
“Nobody cares if they’re comin’ off wrong or right, as long as their name in the paper gets spelled right.

Even for artists who have some hostility toward youtube stars and the year of the selfie, there are still many ways to hit the avenues while still creating art. Milo Z for example, is taking advantage of his creative drive and rich childhood to write his first book.

“It's a coming of age story of a kid growing up in NYC and the (Lower East Side) in a time when the L.E.S. in particular was a very different place, a rough place that was untamed and untrendy. I’m exploring a different way to be creative and i'm excited about the process. Maybe I can drop my next album when the book comes out and one thing can cross pollinate the other, than who knows.”

We School – What can other cooperative artists learn
It seems the takeaway is that being genuine in your marketing is what matters. Even if you don’t want to write a whole book, you can tell your story without it being shameless self-promotion. Cross marketing, collaborating, and finding new ways to reach the audience is part of surviving for an entrepreneurial artist. Artists have always been entrepreneurial by necessity, and new tools like viral videos, social networking, and crowd funding, (while making it more complicated), do give more ways for creative to think a bit more about business.

Crowdfunding

Old School - Milo Z
When I asked Milo Z if he ever considered using a Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowd funding campaign, he was a bit taken aback. “Passing the can around just doesn’t feel right for some reason.” If you are from an era like Milo Z and myself where you feel weird to ask your friends and family for some extra scratch, then the odds are that they may think it a little awkward too if they are of similar age and upbringing. Crowd funding can alienate your core audience if your audience doesn’t think its cool.

New School – Steven Freider
Steven used IndieGogo to help finance his first album, After Time (Produced by Jake Hertzog, feat. Bob Meyer, Luke Franco, & Peter Brendler) and had this to say.

“I think crowd funding is a great idea for independent artist to finance their project. How much you can raise definitely comes down to your strategy and your audience. My audience was mostly friends, family, my fellow musicians, and people who kept asking about when I was going to make a CD! I kept the project within my limits, and still paid for most of it out of pocket.”

We School – What can other cooperative artists learn
If you have grown up in the age of crowd funding and to your knowledge your circles support the idea or would really enjoy your rewards, than what is the harm in going for it? Even if all your friends and family don’t have much dough, they can spread the word to others in similar circles so you can grow your audience (even if you don’t raise millions). There may be one new fan you get who may have some serious connects or a huge network of followers themselves. On the other hand, be honest about who your core audience is. If you think they would be offended by asking for donations, than maybe look toward other avenues of financing your next project. We have not used crowd funding yet directly for IndieStreet, but thre is surely value in it: some of our filmmakers have raised a good amount of money, as well as increased awareness for their projects.

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Creation – The School of the Insane Now

When I asked both of these unique artists why they made music, I got answers far from the realm of digital, all of the words were lined with human passion and grace. So rather than me go on about why they create, I chose a few of the most telling quotes from my talks with each of these talented musical creators:

Milo Z: I make music because I have to. If I wasn’t making music I would lose my mind. I think we are all a little bit crazy and what keeps us sane is our outlet.

Steven: My mother played and taught classical piano, played guitar and sang. She passed away when I was 17, and it is very much because of her that I play music today.

Milo Z: What has changed for me in the last few years is that I'm a father now and that now my daughter Sierra is the most important thing to me, even more than my art! If I never did another show I still be her dad so the rest Is gravy.

Steven: One of the greatest truths for any art, is that there is always more to learn, no matter what level you have achieved…

Milo Z and Steven Frieder are innately insane artists from different schools, but they both really live by the same code. Don’t fight the human need to create, don’t stop learning, create with your heart, and be authentic. The actual creation of art and its motives do not seem to change too much from generation to generation. No technology can stop our primal emotions and releases. No technology can truly engage a human audience without a human story behind it. Milo is building on his already rich story, and Steven is just starting to write his.

If Indie Street can help harvest discussion and keep the most talented (and by Milo Z’s definition the most insane) creators with sustainable outlets, then we can all stay a bit more connected to our human roots. By getting creative with technology and sharing the experience of truly unique individuals, the world gets to hear more great music, watch more great films, and keep some really awesome people from going insane.

-Jay Webb, Indie Street

Check out more and keep informed on Steven and Milo Z at the links below:

Milo Z Website

Buy his album on CD Baby

Milo Z Facebook Page

Milo Z Reverb Nation page

Steven Frieder's Website

Steven's Facebook Page

With another exciting festival week about to wrap up, the 2017 Sundance Film Festival announced its short film awards on Wednesday, with the jury granting seven prizes overall. Check out the winners below and keep your eyes peeled for these shorts as they continue their successful runs on the festival circuit!  Short Film Grand Jury Prize: “And so we put goldfish in the pool.” (Japan, Director: Makoto Nagahisa)  Short Film Jury Award, US Fiction: “Lucia, Before and After” (USA, Director: Anu Valia)  Short Film Jury Award, International Fiction: “And The Whole Sky Fit In the Dead Cow’s Eye” (Chile/USA, Director: Francisa Alegria)  Short Film Jury Award, Non-Fiction: “Alone” (USA, Director: Garrett Bradley)  Short Film Jury Award, Animation: “Broken - The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck” (Germany, Directors: Volker Shlecht, Alexander Lahl)  Special Jury Award for Cinematography: “Dadyaa - The Woodpeckers of Rotha” (Nepal/France, Directors: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet)  Short Film Special Jury Award for Editing: “Laps” (USA, Director: Charlotte Wells)

While this week has been quite the politically challenging one, at least the indie film community had something to look forward to at week's end. Though we can't ignore the power shift happening in DC today, we can soothe our souls with a bit of filmic therapy. This is why we are estatic that both the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival are officially a-go! The power of cinema is strong and both festivals will introduce new indie big hitters as well as lower budget indie outliers. We can't wait to hear about the excitement, new technologies, and new stories that come out of Park City this year. If you'll be in the area, are a dreamer or just want to keep up with both of the festivals' schedules, be sure to give the Slamdance and Sundance line-ups another peak over the next week!

Ready, set…..make a movie?! Yep, you read that right. Wanna get those creative gears a-turnin’ but worried they might be a bit rusty? Nothing like a good old-fashioned race to get things moving again. Join F*It Club & the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival on January 17 - 21 for a bit of friendly filmmaking competition in the form of F*It Club’s Third Annual Film Race! One theme + Multiple teams + $20 + 72 hours = A whole lotta creativity on the big screen! Always wanted to screen at a film festival or just have an excuse to make something? Looks like you've got what it takes to reach this finish line! The official contest theme and required script elements will be announced January 17th and teams will have around 72 hrs to complete their visions. Get this: ALL films will be screened during closing night of the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival at New Ohio Theatre on January 21st. Don’t worry, like a true competition, there’s another kind of prize, too. And what will the victorious team be awarded? How about ONE FREE HOUR of open bar at The Chester in NYC! Sound tempting? Well, what are you waiting for?! Rally the troops (or just yourself will do!), grab some equipment (a smart phone is good enough!), sign up and get ready to get out there and start making something great! To officially sign up your team (minimum of one person, maximum of ∞), it only costs $20. Never made a film? Well, now is your shot! Creators of all types, including low budget/first time filmmakers, are encouraged to apply! Sign up NOW! Got questions? Email f.itclub2011@gmail.com.Too lazy/busy to make a film and wanna participate with just your eyes and voting capabilities? Then head to closing night of the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival on January 21st to cheer on the teams and support the indie film community! Tickets are only $10 to attend! Make sure to also check out the festival's full line-up for other exciting screenings, too!So, spread the word! OR Make a film! OR Watch the films! Or, F*It and do it all! We hope to see you there! 

The 2017 Slamdance Film Festival is right around the corner and we're getting stoked on checking out all of the outliers and amazing under the radar indie films they are bringing to new audiences! And now the full program is available online! From narrative, documentary, experimental, animation and anarchy short blocks to innovative features, events and more, if you're gonna be in or around Park City on Jan 20th - 26, you've got to check out the full lineup. Don't miss a thing - take a gander and get acquainted with the festival program now!

Pop the champagne! Grab those noise makers! Get lost in a sea of balloons, confetti and kissing couples. It’s a New Year! 2016 was one heck of a ride - a true rollercoaster that threw us for loop after loop. However, you can’t deny at least one exhilarating high that the big bad ol' 2-0-1-6 presented to us: the magic of cinema. The past year can definitely brag about that one bright spot, as we’ve seen an onslaught of breathtaking shorts and features presented both online and in cinemas and festivals around the world. Before we start all over again in a fresh, new year, the Indie Street and Indie Street Film Festival staff would like to present our favorite films from ISFF 2016 and beyond! From our inaugural year favorites to other indie hits and theatrical releases, we thank you 2016 for allowing us to throw one heck of a new festival and for showcasing some beautiful, smart and thought-provoking films. Let’s hit the corner of Indie Street and Memory Lane before looking ahead to what the new year has to offer!

 

 

 

 

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Romeo is Bleeding, dir. by Jason Zeldes

Documentary Feature (ISFF 2016 Selection)

 

Short Synopsis: Donte Clark's poetic voice was honed on the violent street corners of a struggling city. Yet rather than succumb to the pressures of Richmond, CA, Clark uses his artistic perspective to help save his city from itself.

 

 

Why we love it: It’s important to remember that, throughout history, one person can ignite change. Romeo is Bleeding, which won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at ISFF 2016, is a must-see doc if you’re looking for an inspirational, beautifully shot raw human story that seems more relevant than ever.

 

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The Lobster, dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos

Narrative Feature 

 

Short Synopsis: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

 

 

Why we love it: A kind of macabre black comedy, here unfolds a story about single loners that must find a partner before their time runs out and they are forced to be turned into an animal of their choice. This dark and twisted film is a love story unlike any we've ever seen. A Cannes Jury Prize Winner, this peculiar festival pleaser and critic favorite should peak interest in both lovers of the unusual and ones simply interested in the intricacies of human connections. 

  

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Thunder Road, dir. by Jim Cummings

Narrative Short (ISFF 2016 Selection)

 

Short Synopsis: Officer Arnaud loved his Mom.

 

 

Why we love it: The Boss should be honored...Jim Cummings gives this classic song new depths of humor and humanity. A one take film with a million dynamics, get ready for a short film that will have you go from crying tears of laughter to suddenly crying tears of sorrow. The 2016 Indie Street Film Festival Jury Prize Winner for best Narrative Short, if you’ve not seen this incredible ode to loss, what are you waiting for?!

  

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The Boatman, dir. by Zack Godshall

Documentary Short (ISFF 2016 Selection)

 

Short Synopsis: As Joseph and Selina Gonzales approach their 71st wedding anniversary, they reflect on endurance, love and fortitude after years of living outside the flood walls in Yscloskey Beach, Louisiana.

 

 

Why we love it: Sometimes all it takes is the jarring grit of reality to form a story that will linger long within both your mind and your heart. A portrait of love, perseverance and endurance throughout hardship, The Boatman is an Indie Street Film Festival short doc selection well worth your time. Have the tissues ready - this one is quite the beautifully human tearjerker.

  

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The Past Inside The Present, dir. by James Siewert

Animated Short (ISFF 2016 Selection)

 

Short Synopsis: An allegorical tale of a couple who attempt to renew their dying relationship by plugging directly into recordings of their memories.  Available for download on Bit Torrent Now.

 

 

Why we love it: No dialogue and no words to describe this genius hand-crafted animation. Showcasing the mad, twisted rotoscoped world of a couple reliving and renewing moments from their relationship, this jaw-dropping and intricately created film will have you in awe of both its depiction of our relation to time as well as its layers of art and storytelling.

  

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Moonlight, dir. by Barry Jenkins

Narrative Feature

 

Short Synopsis: A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life and comes of age in Miami during the "War on Drugs" era.

 

 

Why we love it: Well, first of all, who doesn’t love it?! Moonlight has taken the indie community and beyond by storm. A haunting portrait of African-American identity and repression, here masculinity, desire, and sexuality are all explored in a tender, emotional way. This is a film well worth the acclaim it's finding with audiences and critics alike.

 

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Sonita, dir. by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Documentary Feature (ISFF 2016 Special Screening)

 

Short Synopsis: A young Afghani refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music after her family tries to sell her into a marriage.

 

 

Why we love it: Should a filmmaker get involved with their subject even if it means a new chance at life? Winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize for Best World Cinema Documentary, Sonita goes beyond the story of a young girl following her dream to be a rapper and becomes a must-see film about politics, culture and fighting against obstacles in order to find opportunity and identity outside of expectations.

  

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople, dir. by Taika Waititi

Narrative Feature

 

Short Synopsis: A boy and his “uncle” become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness.

 

 

Why we love it: A misfit adventure between an unwanted, troublemaker orphan and a misunderstood foster uncle through the wilderness of New Zealand? Count us in! The wit and acting alone within this hilarious offering from writer/director Taika Waititi should put this film on your must-see list. Add in the million other positives on display within this unique production and we think it should definitely jump to the top of your list!

 

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Whale Valley, dir. by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

Narrative Short

 

Short Synopsis: Two brothers live in a remote fjord with their parents. We look into their world through the eyes of the younger brother and follow them on a journey that marks a turning point in both of their lives.

 

 

 

Why we love it: A haunting portrait of two brothers, their deep bond & the feeling of isolation that comes from living within an overpowering, remote landscape, we don't think there has been a more beautiful, cinematic short film released this year. This Cannes Special Mention Winner is a film that goes beyond words, best enjoyed in feeling and trust. An absolute must-see!

 

 

The Indie Street team wants to wish all you film lovers the happiest, healthiest and safest of New Years! Goodbye 2016! It has been a great year for cinema and indie film but we can't wait to see what the new year holds! See you all in the brand new, sparkling 2017!

Champagne. What a New Year’s cliche! Why not try popping a totally different kind of bottle this year?! Our end of year gift to you is another round-up of the best in indie film and craft beer on the scene! As the cursed year of 2016 rolls out and a fresh, optimistic 2017 hopefully blossoms, Indie Street wants to wish all you film and beer lovers the happiest of new beginnings. We heard the first step towards change is making resolutions. So, make adventure a New Year’s resolution this time around, even if it’s just an adventure for your taste buds. Advintage's Jayme, our partner in beer and cinema related crime, has teamed up with us once again for an end of December offering. The theme this month? Out with the old, in with the new. Trust us, no one wants to be left behind in 2016. So, put the bubbly away and get ready for a twist on the old New Year’s classics! Film: Auld Lang Syne We can’t say enough about why we love this film. It’s funny, witty, and honest with a lovely, kind-hearted, amazing team behind its production. What more could you want? Take our word for it and read our review of one of Indie Street’s latest VOD releases. Like popping a bottle of champagne, the film shows us just what happens on New Year’s Eve when secrets between friends get bottled up until the point of exploding pressure. If you like pie, off the wall comedies about the trials and tribulations of human connection and also appreciate the arts and following your passions, you’ve got to check out Auld Lang Syne before the clock strikes midnight! As the old Robert Burns' poem/tune asks, should old acquaintance be forgot? You be the judge! Just don’t do it empty handed! Beer: Malheur Bière Brut Champagne is the obvious choice of liquid magic for ringing in the New Year, but why not take a different corked route to 2017? Malheur may mean "misfortune" in French, but this beer is anything but! Jayme says of his champagne-style beer pick: "Malheur Bière Brut, of the few champagne-style beers I've had, is my favorite. Brewed with champagne yeast and put through the same rigorous process (called methode champenoise, which is rather intensive for a beer if you look into it), it has many of the same characteristics of fine sparkling wine but with the build of a very nice Belgian beer. Crisp and a little sweet with great floral and fruit notes, this is definitely a beer to ring in the new year. Nostrovia!"  There you go: marvelous film, delicious beer. A match made in heaven. End 2016 on a cheery buzz and give our December pairing a try before it’s too late!! We wish you all a happy, healthy and safe New Year! Remember: Drink and watch responsibly!  

Sparkling with nostalgic high school vibes, “First Girl I Loved” is like the many teen dramas that came before it, taking its first steps into the silly, irrational unknown. All fun and games until someone falls in love and gets hurt, no? But are the consequences greater when the burgeoning relationship is between two young and confused high school girls that have absolutely no idea what they are doing? This is what Kerem Sanga’s newest Sundance winning feature strives to capture and answer: what happens as the first inklings of love are born, what happens when discovering one’s true identity, and finally, what happens when facing the fact that these two moments sometimes don’t mesh at all.  Anne, played by a captivating Dylan Gelula, lives a rebellious life, flanked by her best friend Cliff (Mateo Arias). A sort of disheveled beauty, with a blue streak of hair and a natural sense of androgynous fashion, Anne is magnetic, drawing our curiosity towards the screen. As Cliff and Anne set out opening bottles of wine with samurai swords and attacking each other like predator and prey in a convenience store, “First Girl I Loved” initially starts out as slightly less intriguing than I hoped, despite the initial magnetism born from synopsis and trailer. However, the frivolous nature of the film changes dramatically when secrets are spilled - secrets that change the course of this friendship forever. You see, Anne isn’t harbouring unrequited feelings for her best friend, as these things tend to go. She’s fallen for softball player and role model senior, Sasha, a radiant Brianne Hildebrand in the role. And yes, softball players are girls, not boys.  As Anne and Sasha’s friendship-relationship blossoms, the film takes the twists and turns of teenage love so smoothly and with total ease. It’s messy, confusing, and heartbreaking - but sometimes, just sometimes, it makes more sense than anything else in the world. Well, until it doesn’t anymore and the inevitable crash and burn of young love incinerates the hearts and reputations of everyone involved. The two female leads do an amazing job portraying characters that are constantly in a state of figuring themselves out and yet, never really getting there. And well, that’s growing up to a T.  The giggles, the inside jokes, the awkward tension between two people that are meant to be more than just friends - it’s all here in Sanga’s new wave teenage romance and it’s all very real and very raw in its portrayal of growing up. If you can forgive the plot technicalities glossed over within the story, not think too much about what’s left unsaid between certain characters, and see this as a sugary sleek, well handled narrative about coming out, you may just find something to love about “First Girl I Loved”. It’s a slick, hip take on same sex discovery and the consequences it sadly brings. It’s all about finding yourself and accepting that at the most terrifying point in your life: being a teenager. We’ve all been there or will be there. And there’s no escaping self-discovery when it rears its ugly, yet necessary little head.  

#222222; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; background-color: ; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; font-family: helvetica;">Season’s Greetings! Indie Street wants to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and safe and happy holiday season! Here’s to time with family, friends, neighbors, kitties, or whatever you choose to surround yourself with this week! We hope you make magical memories full of cheer, laughs, and great times with the ones you love! If you’re looking to cozy up by the fireplace tonight or tomorrow night and check out a new movie, don’t forget Indie Street is at the corner of innovation and storytelling and therefore the perfect place to find that unique film to fit any of your festive needs. From New Year’s Eve friendship comedy Auld Lang Syne to Sankofa, a scifi film about human connection and memory, get comfortable with one of our recent 2016 releases and make some new traditions this year in the form of supporting the best indie filmmakers out there! Happy Holidays and lots of love from the Indie Street team! <3 

It’s true: 2016 saw its far share of up and downs. And while many of those downs reached record breaking lows, one of those ups reached enormous heights. We’re talking about the success of the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival! The first ever edition of ISFF was a tremendous event, filled with dozens of films from around the world, live art, parties, panels and more! Earlier this week, the second annual ISFF was announced and we couldn’t be more excited for the months of planning ahead. Set to take place once again in the vibrant, art-friendly town of Red Bank, NJ, the 2017 festival will take place July 26-30! Are you a filmmaker or innovative storyteller?! Then what are you waiting for? #submit" target="_blank">Become a part of our story and submit today! And guess what? You don’t have to be a filmmaker to attend. Discounted early bird passes to the festival are on sale for a limited time! Love films? Grab a few FILM ONLY Passes…or while you’re at it, why not go all out and pick up a few ALL ACCESS Passes to get access to all of our special events and more! Hurry, there’s only 2 days left before Christmas and we hear the gift of indie film is the hot gift of the season! Make those cinephiles in your life beam with joy this holiday. We will see you next July!